Bargainers for the UAW and the Detroit automakers will get down to brass tacks the week of July 13.
The tug of war will be between workers who expect to get back some of what they gave up during the downturn of 2008-09, and auto executives who can't fall back into the practices that got them in such trouble.
Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes believes it's all going to come down to who's looking ahead through the windshield or at the past in the rear-view mirror.
"As you go into negotiations, you can't help but think that the UAW and their membership are looking at the fact that over the past four years of the current contract, GM, Ford, and what is now FCA or Chrysler, have made $67.7 billion of profits in North America."
Bottom line: UAW bargainers expect to get a bigger chunk of the profits given that labor is a much smaller percentage of the total cost of a vehicle.
"I don't think that anybody who knows this process thinks that they're going to get done with these negotiations and not give some kind of base wage increases to both legacy and the second-tier workers," he says.