Which of the three automakers sets the pattern for negotiations?

In past, our union has chosen to negotiate a settlement with one of the Detroit Three automakers, before the others. The terms of this first settlement set the ‘pattern’ that is then negotiated with the others.

The pattern-setting “target” company is selected by the Unifor National President. Historically, this target selection happens over the Labour Day weekend.  The National President may choose to not select a target on the Labour Day weekend (as happened in 2012, for instance) but may do so at another point in time.  

Once the first settlement is voted on and ratified by Unifor members, the union will select the second company with which to negotiate. Once the second deal is ratified by members, the union will negotiate with the third – and final – company.