Traditionally, the United Auto Workers will pick one automaker to negotiate a contract. Then, after that deal is struck, the UAW will shop the deal to the other automakers. It's called "pattern bargaining," and it's been happening for decades.

That may change during 2011 negotiations, as The Detroit Free Press reports that new UAW President Bob King might broker a deal with all three automakers simultaneously. King points out that the automakers and the UAW have a good relationship, adding, "we should be able to work together." That decision won't be made by King, though, as the UAW boss points out that the final bargaining tactics will be determined by the union's top officers.

One area of struggle could be in reigning in expectations of workers looking to win back concessions granted during the auto industry recession of 2008 and 2009. King points to Ford CEO Alan Mulally's 2010 pay of $26.5 million as a potential issue. "I think Alan Mulally is a good CEO... but he has a blind spot here," said King.

King's non-adversarial approach to the upcoming contract negotiations comes as the UAW is making an effort to unionize transplant and supplier facilities. The UAW chief tells the Free Press that the union is making progress. The UAW is looking for fair elections at these facilities, and King is pleased that organizations are at least interested in sitting down for discussions.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]

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