With the GM UAW contract being ratified, the UAW is now set to enter negotiations with Ford and FCA. We don’t know if Ford or FCA will go first, but there is a consensus on what the key issues will be for the Ford UAW negotiations. One of the most significant factors in the GM negotiations that will undoubtedly impact Ford UAW negotiations is healthcare costs. The union is keen to keep its workers from having to pay more out of pocket.
Ford will be keen to try and save money on healthcare costs. Ford, with more hourly workers on its payroll, has more costs associated with healthcare. Those costs are expected to top $1 billion for the first time in 2020. GM was unable to negotiate any out of pocket increases for its hourly workers, but CNBC reports that may not be the same for Ford.
Ford could potentially push for other ways to cut costs for healthcare, such as setting requirements on how workers use their healthcare plans. One example is having workers use primary care doctors rather than ER or acute care services to save money. As it stands now, Ford UAW workers pay only 3 percent of their healthcare costs compared to salaried workers who pay 20 to 30 percent of their healthcare costs.
Negotiations for temporary workers is expected to be less of an issue for Ford UAW negotiations than at GM and FCA. Despite Ford having the highest number of hourly UAW workers, it boasts the lowest amount of temporary workers at 6 percent. Ford has reportedly hired thousands of those workers as permanent in the last four years. One mystery of the Ford negotiations is how the automaker will address powertrain underutilization and whether that means plant closures or adding new work to existing factories.