United Auto Workers Vice President Jimmy Settles said Thursday that record profits Ford Motor Co. earned in the second quarter won’t change what the union plans to fight for in contract talks.
“We negotiate smart,” Settles said.
“We don’t negotiate for today, we negotiate for the future. We’re not negotiating to try to put anybody out of business.”
The UAW and Ford kicked off contract talks in July. The union is hoping to “bridge the gap” between its first- and second-tier workers, whose pay can differ by more than $10 an hour for, in some cases, the same job. Automakers like Ford will be fighting to keep labor costs down.
Settles said talks have gone smoothly and that the two sides are first dealing with smaller issues that are easier to agree upon.
“We deal with the small ones and then we move up,” he said. “We’re getting the low hanging fruit and we’re progressing quite well. I call it the honeymoon stage ... honeymoon only in the sense that it’s early.”
Settles spoke with media Thursday after a pregame ceremony at the 12U All-Star Classic baseball game in Detroit. The game was at William Clay Ford Field, which Ford and the UAW opened in June.
“These kind of events energize me,” Settles said.
“You get tired, but you see these kids playing here ... there’s some positive things here in this city.”