Notice. Union Meeting May 16th, 2015 11:00am.
DETROIT -- The United Auto workers kicked off a two-day convention here this morning, aimed at conveying local union concerns to UAW's top officials as they lay plans to bargain with the Detroit Three automakers later this year.
The UAW also will bargain with implement maker John Deere and the state of Michigan.
Workers at those five employers comprise about 43% of the UAW's 400,000 or so members.
The two-day meeting is the UAW Special Convention on Collective Bargaining, which occurs every four years as a forum for rank-and-file members to provide input into the union's negotiating agenda.
"Eliminating two-tier and multi-tier pay structures is our number one priority," a newsletter distributed by Autoworkers Caravan, an activist group within the UAW, said in in advance of the convention. "Equal pay for equal work" is a basic civil and human right....Two-tier fosters an 'us and them' mentality on the plant floor."
Conversely, executives from Detroit's automakers will argue against any raises that make their U.S. labor costs uncompetitive against Asian and German automakers with local plants and lower-paid workers.
Auto sales have increased steadily since General Motors and Chrysler Group bankruptcy reorganizations in 2009. That growth made job creation promises possible in the 2011 contract. Ford created so many new jobs -- more than 14,000 -- during the current contract that the company hit its ceiling of allowable entry-level workers and started bumping the most senior second-tier workers to the top-tier wage.
Interstate 84 crash: Indiana auto workers marvel as truck they built helped keep driver alive.
BAKER CITY, Ore. -- Black ice is believed to be the cause of a freeway pileup involving more than a dozen tractor-trailers that left 12 people injured Saturday in eastern Oregon, police said.
Among those rescued was pickup truck driver Kaleb Whitby, 27, who miraculously escaped with minor injuries after he was sandwiched in his vehicle crushed between two big rigs. He was trapped for about 30 minutes inside the wreckage -- a scene captured by a photographer whose own truck became disabled in the pileup.
"Thank God that I'm still alive," Washington state resident Whitby told OregonLive.com. "Now I've got to go figure out why."
He said he needed only a couple of Band-Aids and some ice for his injuries.
United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams is right about this: Next year's national contract talks with the Detroit automakers will be all about balance.
Namely, how will automakers reaping billions in annual profits from the U.S. market credibly resist the certain push for general wage increases, the first in nearly a decade for so-called "legacy" union members?
And how will union bargainers square their financial demands with their professed commitment to keep their employers' all-in labor costs competitive with foreign rivals operating in the United States?
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