Following the landmark deal between UPS and the Teamsters, attention on “hot labor summer” now shifts to talks between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Detroit’s biggest car companies. Under new leadership, the UAW says it is determined to win historic compensation upgrades after losing ground to inflation and substandard contracts signed since the Great Recession.
Art Wheaton serves as director of labor studies at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR).
“The initial contract proposals exchanged between Stellantis (Fiat-Chrysler parent), and the UAW do not bode well for a quick deal. Stellantis is seeking concessions while the UAW seek record breaking increases.
“There appears to be a gap the size of the Grand Canyon. In bargaining, insulting or embarrassing arguments can lead to retaliation and bad feelings by both sides.
“Many of the proposals the union is asking for have merit, but achieving all of them in one contract will be no small feat. The pressure on the auto industry, a supplier industry with no built-up cash stockpile to endure a long strike, will be profound as the Sept.14 deadline draws near.”