Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on Ford, UAW negotiations

Negotiating teams for Ford Motor Co. and the UAW gathered Monday at the company's world headquarters in Dearborn to focus on economic issues in the next four-year labor contract for the company's hourly workers. Sources close to the talks said discussions between Ford and the UAW are expected to be "smoother" than GM but not easy. Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University with expertise in labor affairs, said negotiations with Ford may be a little more complicated than expected. The company "faces steep challenges as shown in its last quarterly financial report," he said. "To compete in the future, it will clearly need to generate more revenue and cash and slash redundant costs. Staying competitive on the labor cost front will be difficult due to the pattern set at GM." Masters said, "After these rounds of negotiations with the UAW, the three (Detroit) companies will still face a very daunting future."

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