It wasn't easy, but it looks like General Motors
will have its new contract ratified by the UAW
by October 10th. We expect the UAW to start proceedings with either Ford
as soon as this Monday, but Ford has apparently made it known that it needs more concessions from the union than were given to its cross-town rival GM
. BloggingStocks is reporting the UAW president Ron Gettelfinger knows this, saying that the deal he struck with GM will be a "rough template" for deals with Ford and Chrysler. Ford has made it known that it needs deeper cost costs, up to a 30% cut in labor costs specifically, than those in the UAW's deal with GM. This likely means that Ford's contract with UAW may include even lower wages, smaller or no signing bonuses at all, and perhaps a significantly smaller contribution to a UAW health care trust, called a VEBA, that is the cornerstone of the GM contract. Ford is responsible for the health care of fewer active and retired UAW workers than GM, but we're betting that if a VEBA is part of its deal with the UAW, Ford will be contributing less per worker than GM. Either way, the next round of negotiations, be they with Ford or Chrysler, will be even more brutal than the first, which resulted in a strike. GM could handle a short strike, but we're not so sure that Ford can.