UAW Requests Strike Authorization From Ford Locals.
Posted by opihrnews
United Auto Workers President Bob King instructed union locals representing Ford Motor Co. plants to hold their rank-and-file “strike authorization” vote by Sept. 2, intensifying pressure on the auto maker to reach a new labor deal before its existing contract expires.
The call for the vote, a standard negotiating practice, was outlined Tuesday when Mr. King addressed about 150 union officials in Chicago, according to people familiar with the matter. Union membership approval would allow the UAW to initiate a strike if it fails to reach a new labor agreement with Ford once the current contract expires on Sept. 14.
Ford is the most vulnerable of the Detroit Three auto makers since it is the only U.S.-headquartered auto maker without a no-strike agreement with the union. The UAW agreed to no-strike terms as part of the bankruptcy reorganization of GM and Chrysler.
The Dearborn, Mich., auto maker’s recent strong profits combined with Chief Executive Alan Mulally‘s 2010 pay package of $26.5 million has made Ford a target for the union, which agreed to a variety of concessions including a two-tier system which lowered wages to $14 an hour for new hires during the financial crisis.
Mr. King said he is hopeful of reaching a new deal with all three auto makers by Sept. 14 although he gave no specifics on the state of negotiations, these people said.
Neither a UAW nor a Ford spokesperson could immediately be reached for comment.
Mr. King may attempt resolve the outstanding grievance between Ford and the UAW during the contract talks, these people said. The UAW claimed Ford violated its current labor contract when it reinstated merit increases for salaried workers last year. The UAW had hoped the issue would be settled by an arbitrator before contract talks began. Source: Jeff Bennett at The Wall Street Journal.