Expert: UAW Contract Talks could Impact U.S. Economy

The United Auto Workers is closing a special convention in Detroit designed to set the union’s agenda for upcoming contract talks with a warning to automakers.

Experts say the outcome of the bargaining sessions set to begin later this year could have a direct impact on the U.S. economy.

J. Carlisle Larsen

Detroit’s Big Three automakers are still highly profitable.

But the industry is beginning to slow and automakers are searching for ways to save money.

Delegates at the UAW’s bargaining convention in Detroit said union workers who helped the Big Three navigate the Great Recession deserve guarantees of job security and health care.

And UAW officials say they won’t allow automakers to close assembly plants, change product line-ups and trim employee salaries in what the union alleges is a “quiet” manner.

University of California-Berkley labor analyst Harley Shaiken predicts the potentially contentious upcoming contract talks between the UAW and automakers could offer a guide for many U.S. companies.

There are things that will happen in Detroit that go well beyond Detroit. What happens here could define at least a direction for competitive companies and workers and communities that benefit,” Shaiken said.

Shaiken noted to WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter that officials at the UAW convention this week increased strike pay for members and vowed to stage a work-stoppage if necessary during contract negotiations.


Click on the audio link above to hear the full conversation with Harley Shaiken

Image credit: Pat Batcheller

About the Author

Quinn Klinefelter

Senior News Editor

I grab news in the morning, check the papers and the wires, call sources and take a big gulp of coffee. That’s how I start the day.  

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