The head of the United Auto Workers said Friday that the union does not intend to offer any special concessions to General Motors Corp. when it sits down later this month to negotiate a new labor contract.
In an interview with Ward’s Automotive Reports, Owen Bieber said the union plans to apply the pattern agreement it negotiated with Ford Motor Co. this week to General Motors Corp. and to Chrysler Corp.
“I said going into these negotiations that when we sit down at the table, we will have an eye on something that will be acceptable to all three companies,” Bieber said.
“This contract is not one that we negotiated here at Ford without looking elsewhere,” Bieber told Ward’s in an interview for its Sept. 20 edition. “It looks at how we will build on increasing quality and productivity.”
“We have turned the corner with the domestic auto industry, and the consumers recognize that,” he said. “That’s one reason we are doing better than our foreign competitors. This contract will do nothing to change that. It is designed to continue in that direction.”
Ford and the UAW tentatively agreed Wednesday to a three-year contract after a marathon 40-hour bargaining session.
The union’s 200-person Ford Council will meet on Monday to examine the agreement, which must then be ratified by the 96,000 Ford workers the UAW represents.
Some analysts have speculated that GM may not be able to afford the Ford contract, particularly the 13% pension increase and the extension of job- and income-security provisions.
Bieber said there are “no cookie-cutter” agreements but that he does not expect to make any major changes in the contract when he sits down with GM and Chrysler.
The three companies have historically followed the pattern in basic areas such as wages, pensions and health care, but each pact is tailored to the individual company.