(Bloomberg) — The leader of the United Auto Workers said the union is looking at ways to reduce health care costs at the three biggest U.S.-based automakers through a group that would include all of their hourly and salaried employees.
“The more people we pool together, the better we are,” UAW President Dennis Williams told reporters Thursday in Detroit. “The more people who pool together for health care, the more that you have an ability to leverage the products.”
See also: Snoopy Explains Risk Pooling
The union is preparing to begin formal negotiations next month with General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s FCA US unit to replace contracts that expire in September. Williams said there are 155,000 salaried employees and 140,000 U.S. hourly workers at the three automakers, as well as about 607,000 people in the union retiree health care trust.
Williams also is seeking to eliminate the pay gap between the union’s most senior workers and the companies’ newest hires. And he wants raises for all of the UAW’s 80,000 auto-making members, including those in the lower tier, whose wages start at $16 an hour and top out at $19.28. Autoworkers in the higher tier haven’t had a raise at GM, Ford or FCA US, the former Chrysler Group, for at least eight years.
Jimmy Settles, the UAW vice president in charge of Ford, said this week that he wants that company to set the wage-and-benefits pattern that the other two automakers will be asked to follow.