UAW Prepares To Bargain With Detroit's Big 3

The United Auto Workers union begins contract talks next week in Detroit with the Big Three automakers. It will the first time since the economic collapse that the car companies and the union have sat down to work out a deal.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:

Okay another story now. Next week, the United Auto Workers union begins contract talks with the Detroit's Big Three. It's the first time since the economic collapse that the two sides have sat down to hammer out a deal.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.

SONARI GLINTON: Kristin Dziczek with the Center for Automotive Research says what the public will see with the upcoming UAW talks is theater.

Ms. KRISTIN DZICZEK (Labor Specialist, Center for Automotive Research): Next week we're going to see some big media events saying that negotiations have started. Well, theyve been, they haven't stopped really. And so this is a, you know, I call it a bit of theater.

GLINTON: Even though the carmakers are making more money they don't want to see their labor costs go up. The union wants more in compensation for workers, but Dziczek says after the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler, both sides have been humbled.

Ms. DZICZEK: They understand you don't get second chances very often. And so I think, you know, they really see this as weve got to show that we understand what happened. We understand what position we're in and we have to think differently about how we structure this agreement.

GLINTON: The compromise will likely be over profit sharing. The head of the UAW says workers deserve to get rewarded for the sacrifices they made to move the companies to profitability. Just how much of a share? Now that's what's left to be determined at the bargaining table.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

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