The Great Union-Automaker Negotiations Of 2015 Are Coming

The Morning ShiftAll your daily car news in one convenient place. Isn't your time more important?

This is The Morning Shift, our one-stop daily roundup of all the auto news that's actually important — all in one place every weekday morning. Or, you could spend all day waiting for other sites to parse it out to you one story at a time. Isn't your time more important?

1st Gear: You Down With UAW? Yeah you know, well, maybe...

UAW membership is falling, that thing in Tennessee didn't quite go down as planned, there's a whole group of old members who haven't gotten raises and young members who are paid way less, relatively, than them, and a new law in Michigan will make it easier for members to opt of the UAW.


Hello Dennis Williams, welcome to your new reality.

David Shepardson, not surprisingly, gets the best interview with new UAW president Dennis Williams about the challenges and you should read the whole thing. Here are some highlights to entice you:

"We're shaking it up a little bit. We're actually restructuring internally," Dennis Williams told The Detroit News in his first wide-ranging interview since taking office in June. "We know we have a lot to do — but we don't want to put so much on our plate that we can't achieve nothing."


"We don't want to have a confrontation unnecessarily. I just think there's too much at stake for any of us to pick a fight with one another," he said. "We have big issues — there's no doubt about it — but I think, realistically, companies have to know... our members have sacrificed. I think that new people coming in want a higher standard of living and I don't think that's unreasonable. We'll find out when we get to the table."


2nd Gear: And There Are Lots Of New Jobs


Going hand-in-hand with the strong market (although we didn't get the SAAR analyst prediction beat I thought we might have) is a great jobs report that did beat expectations with the unemployment rate dropping to 5.9%.


Wall Street expected to see NFP payrolls up 215,000 but we actually came in at 248,000. This should have a nice impact on the market today and also underline that more people are going to need to replace their cars if they haven't yet.

Here's another interesting fact:


3rd Gear: Ford Is Depressing Everyone In Europe


Europe is coming out of a deep economic turndown (for what?) that's negatively impacted the car market there for a while, and all this Russian angst isn't helping matters. Thus, Ford's sort of depressing expectations for Europe aren't helping matters.

Per the AP:

PARIS Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says fellow car bosses "are still reeling" from the profit warning that rival Ford announced on the eve of the biennial gathering in Paris.

Marchionne says that while he's "incredibly hopeful" that Russia's collapsing car market "will sort itself out," he doesn't expect a return to normal market conditions there until the end of 2015.


It is truly a bummer.

4th Gear: Daimler Is Cutting Market Forecast


There are only so many adjectives, even in the grand and varied English language, so reporters are left to try and figure out how to accurately describe market conditions in ways we can understand.

I like this Reuters headline that says the car market "wobbles," causing Daimler to downsize everyone's expectations.


Speaking as the Paris auto show opened to the media on Thursday, Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche said he now expected the global car market to grow by 3-4 percent this year, down from a previous forecast of 4-5 percent.

Other executives shared his caution, particularly over Europe where a six-year sales slump has left demand around 20 percent below pre-crisis levels and sluggish economies have put a question mark over whether the gap will close anytime soon.


Yeah, that's wobbling. Not quite falling over, not quite standing up. Uncertain. Drunk.

5th Gear: Bugatti Spared The Cuts


A lot of interesting news out of Bugatti lately, but the most important detail may be that they're never, ever, ever giving up on it as Reuters reports:

"In terms of soundly developed vehicles that are also pieces of art, you won't find anyone else who can compete with us," said Duerheimer, who also heads VW's ultra-luxury Bentley brand.

The opulence at Bugatti, whose 1,200-horsepower models seek to appeal to the world's richest buyers, contrasts with a growing push for austerity at VW's passenger-car brand where management is seeking 5 billion euros of cost cuts by 2017.

"Of course, this can be painful," VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said at the show when asked about the firm's efficiency drive. "At such a large company, there are always things to be found" where costs can be lowered, he said.


I kind of like VW for sticking with it here, even if I'd rather that money went into making a street legal US version of the XL1 Sport. It's just proof that people at Volkswagen do genuinely love cars and engineering.

Reverse: Speaking Of Unions

On this day in 1961, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union goes on strike at Ford plants across the country to win higher wages and better benefits for its members. It was the first company-wide strike since Ford had agreed to a collective-bargaining deal in 1941. Ford had been the last of the Big Three automakers to recognize the union, and it did so grudgingly; the UAW would organize his workers, Henry Ford famously declared, "over my dead body."




Neutral: Who Has The Upper Hand? The UAW Or The Big 2.5? Dennis Williams seems to be playing nice ahead of negotiations, is it a tactic or a realization of his challenges? Maybe labor, in the German mold, realizes that cooperation is the best way forward for everyone? What's going on?

Photo Credit: AP Images

Share This Story