UAW President Addresses Buisness Leaders on Mackinac

Bob King began his speech with a joke. He told the audience that this was the closest he’d ever get to a Republican Convention. The line prompted laughs. From there…King praised the Obama Administration for bailing out the auto industry. He also acknowledged that the UAW had made mistakes in the past.

“The 20th century UAW fell into a pattern with our employers where we saw them as adversaries instead of partners. It became imbedded in our relations. And as a result we signed into ever more lengthy and complicated contracts with work rules and narrow job descriptions that hindered flexibility. The 21 century UAW seeks and expects a partnership with employers based on mutual respect and common goals.”

King pointed to what he called “the infamous” jobs bank as an example of something that did not achieve the results the union wanted. He says the now discontinued program represented the UAW of the 20th century. The jobs bank paid laid-off autoworkers.

King says he expects to begin the next round of contract negotiations with automakers in a few weeks. From Mackinac Island, I’m Noah Ovshinsky, WDET News.