The United Auto Workers union selected General Motors Co. as its “target” automaker in negotiations with Detroit-area automakers. The union disclosed the choice in an emailed statement today.
The Detroit-based union will now concentrate its bargaining efforts at GM. It will then use an agreement with GM to set the basic structure or pattern, for contracts at Ford Motor Co. and FCA US LLC.
The union’s automakers at the three companies expire at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14. The Ford and FCA contracts will be extended while negotiations take place at GM.
Detroit-based GM said last year that UAW-represented vehicle-assemble plants in Detroit-Hamtramck and Youngstown, Ohio, would not be allocated new models. Operations have already ceased at the Ohio plant. However, the factories can’t be formally closed until this round of contract talks exclude. Also affected are powertrain plants in Warren, Mich., and the Baltimore area.
Of the three automakers, UAW relations are most strained with GM because of the planned closings.
GM CEO “Mary Barra said from the outset of these talks that we will stand up as we tackle a changing industry,” UAW President Gary Jones said in the statement. “We are ready to stand strong for our future.”
The UAW said in a separate statement, that union members at all three automakers have authorized a strike. The vote doesn’t mean a strike will occur. But the vote empowers union leaders to call a strike as part of negotiations. The votes in favor of authorization were overwhelming, ranging from 95.98 percent at Ford to 96.4 percent at GM.
The talks are taking place in the midst of an ongoing federal investigation of the union. Last month, FBI agents raided the homes of Jones and his immediate predecessor, Dennis Williams.