Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on future of Detroit Three
Nearly 12 weeks after the previous contracts expired between the UAW and the Detroit Three, including a 40-day nationwide strike against General Motors, work on a new deal is near the end. But experts say it's just the beginning because the automakers face a difficult future that the new four-year union contracts fail to safeguard against. The UAW has said the new contract offers its members job security because the automakers promised to invest billions in U.S. manufacturing. But some industry experts say the contracts fall short of giving the automakers enough flexibility to retool factories or reduce labor to compete in a quickly changing world that's headed toward electrification. And, with health care costs remaining the same, wage increases and a cap on temporary workers, pundits question the economic benefits for the automakers. "All three face an unclear future as to what their companies will be five to 10 years from now," said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University. "Is there enough consolidation in the industry? Do the companies have the financial ability to get a jump ahead on electric vehicles and autonomous driving? I’d look at them to consider more mergers and consolidations on a global scale over the next five to 10 years."
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