Michigan Radio: Marick Masters on Ford, UAW contact talks

With the strike against General Motors now in the rear view mirror, the United Auto Workers has turned its attention to Ford to reach a new contract with that company. Professor of Business Marick Masters says the union uses the first contract it reaches as a pattern for the other two Detroit automakers during talks. And he doesn't think the union is going to be willing to diverge very much from the terms of the GM contract. "I think that they're gonna be very insistent," says Masters, "so whatever Ford agrees to is going to be very expensive." The contract with GM will likely increase its labor costs over the next four years. But the union agreed to GM's plan to close three plants in the U.S., which will reduce its overall costs, saving it billions. Ford may intend to close a plant in Canada. But Masters says that there aren't any in the U.S. that the automaker has plans to close. "Ford is going to have to find other ways of generating the cash to pay for what will be very expensive provisions of this agreement," says Masters.

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