There was a time when union contract negotiations centered around increased hourly wages and top benefits. Bloomberg reports that the United Auto Workers may be willing to forgo raises in favor of lump-sum payments tied to hitting profitability and productivity targets.

To help sell such a deal to the UAW rank and file, Bloomberg reports that the union could seek signing bonuses of $8,000 to $10,000 per member. On the high end, that's over three times the $3,000 Ford, General Motors and Chrysler union employees received in 2007 when they ratified their current contracts.

Signing bonuses of $10,000 per union worker would cost GM $470 million, Ford $410 million and Chrysler $250 million. Bloomberg reports that, on the automakers side of the negotiating table, "there may be resistance to such a large payout." A UAW spokesperson went on the record to say that talk of the union asking for the larger signing bonuses is "inaccurate and it creates false expectations."

The current UAW contract with the Detroit automakers expires September 14.