The Big Three U.S. automakers--Chrysler, Ford and GM--are looking for ways to contain costs as they enter labor negotiations with the United Auto Workers union (UAW). All of the companies face the problems of intense international competition and rising worker benefits costs. Ford's profit is down 27% from last year. Major issues in the upcoming labor talks will include reducing health care costs and getting the union to agree to other cost-cutting measures that could possibly lead to layoffs and plant closings. The UAW has said that it will not back down on the issue of health care for workers.
See Greg Schneider, The Washington Post, July 16, 2003