Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on what happens if GM, UAW can't reach agreement

With the UAW's strike against General Motors nearing the one-month mark, some labor experts say it might be time to consider alternative ways to resolve things if a deal is not reached soon. The public bickering and slow progress had some experts saying it may be time to consider alternatives to bargaining. "If the UAW doesn’t get off the ground and start making some decisions, they need to bring in a third party to help them," said Marick Masters, director of labor at Wayne State University. "In theory, if the president were to declare a national emergency, they would have to go to mediation. But that’s not likely to happen for some considerable time, if ever.” GM CEO Mary Barra, UAW Vice President for its GM Department Terry Dittes, UAW President Gary Jones,  along with GM lead negotiators Scott Sandefur and Gerald Johnson, GM's executive vice president of global manufacturing, met last week for about an hour. The meeting was intended to revive and speed up the negotiations. If it fails, it is possible that Barra and Jones could just take over talks, said Masters. “I don’t think they’d want to do that, but these are different times and I think they need to think outside of the box," said Masters. "The fact that they had to bring in the leadership to get it going, then they may need a neutral third party to help work things out." Masters said if a deal is within reach and the parties need a little help getting it done, they should entertain an alternative, "otherwise you jeopardize the future of the company and the future of autoworkers. This has lasted a lot longer than people expected.”

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