Pattern bargaining was established 60 years ago as a way of making sure no one auto company would get the leg up over its competition. Ron Gettelfinger and the UAW are planning on this year's negotiations to be no different than past agreements, which means Chrysler and Ford will likely follow GM's lead. The contract GM and the UAW pushed through seems to address the cost competitiveness issue that dogged the Detroit automakers for so long, but Ford and Chrysler still have to give it their thumbs up. There will likely be some differences in the contract, however, since all three companies are different, and have unique challenges.
The contract GM signed included a VEBA, which transfers control of retiree health care to the UAW, in exchange for a check that amounts to about 70-percent of the total liability. In GM's case it will be over $30 billion, but for Ford and Chrysler, the amount will be substantially less. For the sake of interesting news and putting labor negotiations back to the rear of our conscious, lets all hope that contract talks are well behind us in short order, and that there are no problems (read, strikes) for Ford and Chrysler.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req.]

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