Pattern bargaining is how things tend to be done in Detroit, a strategy which ensures that one automaker doesn't tend to get a plum deal at the expense of the other car builders in town. General Motors and Chrysler negotiated pretty hard with the United Auto Workers as part of the bailouts, and Ford's now in the process of securing new agreements with its labor force. While the Blue Oval didn't need government money to stay afloat (well, aside from those low interest technology loans, anyway), it wants parity with its rivals workforce deals.

Several Ford plants have approved the new deal, in which Dearborn has asked for the same concessions that its rivals have already secured. Most recently, however, three Ford facilities have voted down the plan to hold firm entry-level pay and benefits, limits on the union's right to strike over wages and benefits, and consolidates skilled trades. Those opposed to Ford's new agreement argue that the true spirit of pattern agreements would lift Chrysler and GM up to where Ford's current agreements are. Kansas City's F-150 plant slapped down the proposed contract by 92%, but Ford will await the final tally before conceding defeat – or celebrating successful negotiations. Contentious labor dealings are certainly not something Ford wants to deal with at this precarious moment. Even while business has been trending up lately, there's still a long way to go, and if labor puts a skip in the get along, it could be a nail in the coffin of a successful recovery.

[Source: Automotive News - sub req. | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]


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