UAW contract talks to be extended at Ford Motor Company

Sep 13, 2011

The deadline for Detroit automakers and the United Auto Workers’ union is fast approaching. 

But contract talks could be extended past the deadline of this Wednesday – especially at Ford. 

Ford is the only company that faces the possibility of a strike this time, because of agreements made during GM and Chrysler’s bankruptcies.

UAW President Bob King says a strike is not the goal.

But some union dissidents think a strike could happen.

Gary Walkowicz  is a bargaining committeeman at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn.

He says union members deserve to get their cost of living pay increases restored, which they gave up during the recession.

He says the company can afford it.

"They’re profitable to the extent that Ford Motor Company made I think 6.2 billion dollars which is one of the most profitable years ever on a very low volume of sales."

Walkowicz also thinks union members want to see a swift phase-out of the tier 2 entry level wage, which pays new workers about half the wage that senior workers get.

But Detroit automakers are expected to push for profit-sharing arrangements, rather than guaranteed wage increases.

And they're certain to resist a phase-out of the tier 2 wage system, which is expected to reduce their fixed labor costs to parity with Toyota and Honda within a few years.

UAW leaders say their main focus is adding more union jobs in the U.S.