UAW President Dennis Williams was asked last night whether the union's tentative contract with Fiat Chrysler would serve as the pattern for deals with Ford and GM. Williams tortured the answer during the Q&A portion of a press briefing announcing the agreement.
UAW President Dennis Williams said the union's tentative contract with Fiat Chrysler makes progress in closing the gap between Tier 1 and entry-level workers while allowing veteran workers to share in the financial success of the company. Williams and FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne also agreed that the UAW's idea of creating a health care co-op for active workers has the potential to control costs.
That Fiat Chrysler jumped to the head of the line to negotiate first with the UAW is classic Sergio Marchionne. The FCA boss wasn't about to let either of his counterparts at Ford or GM negotiate a richer deal that FCA might not be able to afford.
The UAW has chosen Fiat Chrysler as its target to set the pattern for a contract deal before turning to GM and Ford. FCA, the most financially challenged of the Detroit 3, could become a strike target if the two sides cannot arrive at an agreement.
The UAW realizes that the best job security comes from building a popular vehicle productively. With several Detroit 3 factories in the U.S. hungry for new and replacement vehicles to build, such commitments are sure to be a part of this year's labor negotiations and contracts as well.
Toyota told dealers assembled at a national dealer meeting that they would no longer be permitted to advertise vehicle prices below invoice. The company is implementing the prohibition beginning Jan. 1 and will begin enforcing the new ad covenants on April 1, Toyota confirmed Thursday.
The main issue at the UAW-Detroit 3 bargaining table is wages. Specifically, whether the UAW can deliver a path out of Tier 2 to full wages for all workers and whether veteran or Tier 1 workers can expect their first wage increase in 10 years. Repeat, 10 years.
This summer, UAW President Dennis Williams floated the idea that the union wanted to work with the Detroit 3 to create a health-care pool for workers. Best guess as to what that means: a purchasing consortium to drive down the fees that hospitals, doctors and insurers charge.