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Vote to strike against Ford is a formality

Aug. 29, 2011 at 5:23 PM
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CLEVELAND, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Union workers in Ohio are scheduled to vote to authorize a strike against Ford Motor Co., just in case contract negotiations go awry.

Analysts say a strike by United Auto Workers members is unlikely and the vote is considered routine, a formality that sets up permission to strike if necessary, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Monday.

Ford has not experienced a strike since the 1970s and UAW President Bob King has said he believes contract negotiations could end ahead of schedule this year.

But he has also said the UAW is pushing to close the gap in wages between newly hired workers and workers with established seniority, as the union agreed to a two-tiered pay system in 2007 to help U.S. automakers lower labor costs to match them with foreign car companies that operate non-union factories in the United States.

King has also said, as Ford is currently making a profit, the company should not expect the union to agree to any concessions this year.

The tone of the talks, so far, has been amiable. "Look at the amazing success that we've had. We quit vilifying each other," King said in a recent speech at the Detroit Economic Club.

"We are not going to disadvantage the companies we work with. The companies are willing to share in the upside."

Both King and Ford negotiator Marty Mulloy have indicated negotiations were proceeding smoothly, The Detroit News reported.

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