The United Auto Workers union (UAW), fresh from securing member approval of a labour contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, reportedly is turning its attention to wage negotiations at General Motors where union leaders believe they have the best chance of hammering out a quick deal.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the move came as GM is at one of the most prosperous points in its 107-year history. It just posted a record $3.1 billion third-quarter operating profit – a strong financial showing as low petrol prices boosted demand for its trucks and sport utility vehicles.
The WSJ said UAW officials aim to use the new four-year agreement reached at Fiat Chrysler as a template for talks at GM, although UAW president Dennis Williams has indicated he would press for a better deal at GM which, in turn, is expected to push to keep labour costs in check to cushion the blow from market downturns and remain competitive with Toyota and other rivals.
On Wednesday, GM finance chief Chuck Stevens told the WSJ the automaker expects to tailor its UAW contract to meet its financial needs.
The union’s talks with Ford will be put on the back burner as union leaders try to resolve internal disagreements over how to approach those negotiations, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. In a statement, Williams and Jimmy Settles, the UAW’s top Ford negotiator, said there was no difference on strategy and they are "very committed to get the very best agreement that we can at all of the auto companies for our members" at Ford.