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Detroit Auto Talks Emphasize Cooperation over Confrontation.

Two-tier wages could present a sticking point, however.

by on Aug.04, 2011

UAW President King wants creative solutions.

Negotiations between Chrysler and the United Auto Workers are off to a good start, the automaker’s top executive says, while United Auto Workers Union chief Bob King continues to stress cooperation over confrontation.

“The tone of the dialogue so far has been incredibly productive,” Chrysler/Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said during the Center for Automotive Research’s annual Management Briefing Seminars.

Talks between the UAW, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors began last week in Detroit and the first contract should be completed by mid-September.  This year’s talks are unique in that terms of the 2009 federal automotive bailouts bar the union from striking either GM or Chrysler – while few expect a confrontation at Ford, either, where there hasn’t been a strike in nearly a third of a century.

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UAW president Bob King said the union is more committed than ever to working with the automakers in negotiating a contract that would leave them globally competitive.  The union eventually will focus on one maker to come up with a “pattern” contract it can then press for at the other two domestic manufacturers – though industry observers believe that the final settlements could be more unique than ever before, reflecting the wide differences between GM, Ford and Chrysler.