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DATE News (chronologically)
01/11/11
automotive
GM: Tie workers' pay to vehicle quality
General Motors Co. is seeking to tie workers' pay to improvements in vehicle quality — an incentive the Detroit automaker's North American president, Mark Reuss, says will apply to both hourly and salaried employees.

"I want to make sure we pay people for superior results," Reuss told reporters on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show on Monday. "Period."

"When we're not performing, I'm not going to be paid out and neither is anyone else," he added.

The Detroit automakers' contracts with the United Auto Workers union expire in September.

UAW President Bob King, who attended Monday's press preview of the auto show, said his union will consider the proposal.

"We're going to discuss a lot of things," King said.

"Our members deserve tremendous credit for the sacrifices they made, and for their tremendous personal commitment to quality and continuous improvement."

King told The Detroit News last week the UAW is seeking ways for its workers to share in the automakers' rising fortunes, but declined to elaborate further on how it would go about that.

Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally, who accompanied King and five members of Congress on a tour of the show, agreed that "everybody should share" in profits, but didn't offer specifics.

Mulally predicted both sides would reach a favorable labor agreement.

"Everybody keeps saying, 'Oh you have to negotiate this year,'" Mulally said.

"We — the UAW and Ford — have been committed forever to continuous improvement in our productivity. We don't wait for contracts to do it … I'll bet we come out of this one just like we have every other year. We're going to move our competiveness even further."

GM CEO Daniel Akerson said the UAW and his company were working "hand in glove."

King declined to say if second-tier wages would be an issue in contract talks. Mulally said the two-tier system, under which some union workers are paid half of what veteran workers get, remains important for Ford's competitiveness.

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