Monday, October 29

Who's Running Things in D-Town?

One of the big-picture things that has been overlooked for the most part during this round of negotiations in Detroit is the fractured results. After the GM deal came in, pundits began debating the balance of interests in the contract, assuming it would be the boilerplate for the other two members of the little-big 3. Now that the Chrysler contract is (barely) a done deal, and offers a lot less job security to the employees, those same brains are starting to wonder if the Ford talks are going to go even farther toward the “look-we’re-trying-to-stay-in-business” talks of the airline industry during the United bankruptcy.

From the NY Times (via Workplace Prof Blog):

Talks [at Ford], which continued at a slow pace during the Chrysler vote, are expected to step up over the weekend. Generally, the U.A.W. expects to win the same contract terms under its practice of pattern bargaining, but as at Chrysler, the union may have to settle on something apart from the G.M. pact. . . .

But nobody seems to note how remarkable this is – the UAW practically perfected pattern bargaining, and now, without fanfare, they’re watching the process fall apart.
Why is this? Is it just that the Big 3 aren’t as comparable as they used to be? Admittedly, GM is farther along in their “restructuring” than Ford or even Chrysler. Or did the GM negotiation – and the debate over the strength of the union at the bargaining table – place Chrysler in a better position to say no this time around? Is that possible, with both contracts coming after strikes for the first time in decades?

Let the armchair analysis begin. Meantime, we are waiting with bated breath for the Ford contract – and the subsequent vote. With Chrysler's less-beneficial contract approved by a narrow margin during some serious in-fighting in the union, we can only imagine the double-overtime action the Ford vote is going to bring.