After GM, UAW begins talks with Ford

Ford Mustangs sits on the lot of a car dealership in Glenview, Ill.

Jeremy Hobson: General Motors workers are voting on a new United Auto Workers labor contract this week. The company and the UAW union hope to have the voting done by Thursday. Similar contracts are being negotiated at Chrysler and at Ford, where workers are hoping to share in the carmaker's recent success.

Marketplace's Alisa Roth reports.


Alisa Roth: Ford has been selling more cars, getting higher prices for them and gaining market share all over the world.

The UAW, which represents about 40,000 hourly workers at Ford, is hoping to take advantage of that.

Peter Berg: They may have a better ability to pay than GM or Chrysler.

Peter Berg is professor of employment relations at Michigan State University. He says the union will be pushing for higher wage increases than it got at GM. But he says an even bigger priority for the union will be:

Berg: Some security in the work, trying to move more work to the U.S. and get some security that jobs will be maintained here for Ford UAW workers.

Ford workers have been angry about CEO Alan Mulally's $26.5 million pay package, and benefits other managers have had reinstated. Still, the UAW knows its members' futures depend on Ford's success, and that's something that'll be reflected in the negotiations. Ford is the only one of the Big Three where workers still have the right to strike, though it's unlikely the UAW would decide to exercise it.

I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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