The UAW and Chrysler do the “Standards Dance”: Notes on Negotiation

Submitted by Marty Latz, Latz Negotiation Institute  

A Huffington Post Business article about contract talks between the United Auto Workers and Chrysler and Ford mentioned that the union had already reached a deal with General Motors which would serve as “a template for the other two companies.”

This is a great example of the importance of independent standards in negotiations with multiple, similar counterparts.  Here, it is in the union’s best interest to first reach a deal with the company most likely to give them the best deal.  They can then use that result to support their case for what is “fair and reasonable” in the other negotiations.  The first deal is powerful in this context because it combines several independent standards such as market value and precedent.

Of course, Ford and Chrysler will use countermeasures to argue the GM deal isn’t useful in determining what is “fair and reasonable” in their negotiation.  They will try to challenge its validity by distinguishing their facts and/or argue that circumstances have changed.  For example, Chrysler claims it needs more favorable terms because it is less profitable than GM. That “profitability” standard is its response in this “standards dance.”


Marty Latz is the founder of Latz Negotiation Institute, a national negotiation training and consulting company, and ExpertNegotiator, a Web-based software company that helps managers and negotiators more effectively negotiate and implement best practices based on the experts’ proven research.  He is also the author of Gain the Edge! Negotiating to Get What You Want (St. Martin’s Press 2004). He can be reached at 480-951-3222 or

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