Sergio Marchionne sees cooperation with the UAW as a key to a future merger with General Motors. In the deal, Marchionne could potentially take advantage of the 8.7 percent of GM stock that's owned by the union's health care trust.
A study of labor costs among foreign automakers in the US shows a ten-dollar gap between the per-hour rates of the domestics and the imports. The difference between the Detroit 3 and their import competition equates to $250 more in labor costs per car for the domestics.
The UAW is preparing its negotiation position with carmakers later this year. Its primary objective will be the elimination of the two-tier wage system created in 2007 to help the automakers through bankruptcy, but that position "is a non-starter" for the car companies.
Workers at an automotive seat factory in Mississippi are protesting what they say are low wages and poor working conditions as they attempt to unionize in what could become a new front for the United Auto Workers in the state.
The West Coast labor dispute between the dockworkers union and port owners is continuing to affect Japanese automakers with factories in the United States. Subaru, Honda, Toyota and Nissan are all airlifting some parts into the country to avoid shortages.
Volkswagen has recognized a second union at its Chattanooga factory. This one is called the American Council of Employees and positions itself as an anti-UAW group. Both organizations have access to company management but neither have a collective bargaining agreement.
A labor dispute between a West Coast dockworkers union and management is forcing Honda and Subaru to fly in parts to their US factories to avoid production delays. It costs about $60 million more per month to bring the components in by air rather than by ship.
The United Auto Workers say that Ford is beyond its 20-percent cap of Tier 2 workers, so 55 of them will be moved to Tier 1 pay. Ford, however, says that it still has "some room to go" in the ranks of hourly employees on the lower pay scale.