The new president of United Auto Workers Dennis Williams cautioned US carmakers who will deal with the union in 2015 that he backed financial well-being of the firms, but that no more concessions would be tolerated.
Three major US vehicle manufacturers have not increased the salaries of their veteran UAW workers in close to 10 years. In recent negotiations, the union agreed to the establishment and expansion of a two-level pay structure, according to Reuters.
About 1,000 UAW delegates attended a union’s conference in Detroit where Williams delivered his inauguration speech. Most of them wore T-shirts reading, “It’s our time.”
“No more concessions. We are tired of it. Enough is enough,” William shouted before the delegates.
Major carmakers in the US including General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler, which is now an arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, struggled through the meltdown of the auto industry, with the UAW saying it would take concessions to help companies recover.
Bob King, whose mandate as UAW’s president ended last week, often insisted that the union’s members had sacrificed to see the automakers regain health and embraced measures to see them strong. Today, all the three carmakers, including manufacturer of agricultural equipment Caterpillar, have returned to profitability.
“I want to work closely with the companies as long as it doesn’t hurt our members. I do not like confrontation, but I’m not afraid of confrontation,” Williams added.
Although Williams said his union would not give way to more concessions, he did not talk about the two-level wage system during his inauguration. With the pay scale, experienced UAW employees at the major carmakers are paid nearly $28 per hour while newly absorbed workers make less than $16 per hour.
As The Detroit News reported, Detroit carmakers pushed for the introduction of the two-tier system in 2007 as a means to reduce labor costs.
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To contact the reporter of this story; Yashu Gola at firstname.lastname@example.org