An Analysis of the Automobile Settlement

by Council on Wage and Price Stability on January 13, 1977
by Council on Wage and Price Stability


The recent collective bargaining agreements in the automobile industry capped a heavy bargaining calendar in 1976, and will probably influence important negotiations beginning early in 1977. After a four-week strike against the Ford Motor Company, the United Auto Workers — the nation’s second largest labor union — signed a contract with Ford that set the pattern for subsequent settlements with Chrysler and General Motors. Negotiations are still in progress with American Motors. The UAW selects a target company with which it attempts to negotiate a contract that will set the pattern for the others (although American Motors has not been required to follow the pattern in recent past negotiations). There have been strikes against the target companies in each of the last four negotiutions.


The automobile industry agreements cover about 725,000 workers, and generally set the pattern for an additional 95,000 workers in the agricultural implement field. The combined total of 820,000 represents about one-fifth of the workers covered by major collective bargaining agreements negotiated in 1976 (major agreements being those covering 1,000 or more workers). The auto agreements also set patterns for auto parts suppliers employing tens of thousands of additional workers, many of whom belong either to the Autoworkers or the Machinists.





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