United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams says his union has not yet chosen which automobile manufacturer it will target with only one week left to go for current worker contracts.
Williams said Monday he’ll pick between Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler before contracts end on September 14.
When the UAW chooses its target, bargaining will begin and a strike could become a reality if negotiations fail to meet expectations. The company chosen will also help set a pattern for how the UAW proceeds with the other two.
The UAW is representing more than 140,000 workers but has not revealed details of current talks.
“Everybody says to me ‘Dennis, have you picked a target?’ Yes. General Motors, Ford and Chrysler,” Williams said to a cheering crowd.
All three of America’s big automakers are making cash with big chunks of profit, a fact that will likely lead to the most contentious talks in years. Longtime workers are likely to ask for an hourly pay raise, something they have not received in a decade. The UAW will also likely ask to increase entry-level worker pay. Currently, entry-level workers earn approximately half of the $29 hourly wage of veteran employees.
In the meantime, the big three automakers want to cut labor costs in order to compete with foreign manufacturers who are not held down by labor unions.
The UAW has its first upper hand since 2011 when government-funded bankruptcies prohibited GM and Chrysler workers from halting work.
The UAW has already proposed a giant health care pool to save money for the union and all three manufacturers.