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Auto workers, Detroit automakers negotiate new contracts

General Holiefield, Vice President and Director, United Auto

General Holiefield, Vice President and Director, United Auto Wokers Chrysler Department, from left, UAW President Bob King; Al Iacobelli, Chrysler Vice President Employee Relations, and Scott Garberding, Chrysler Senior Vice President, shake hands at a news conference at the start of national contract negotiations at Chrysler Group LLC headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, July 25, 2011. Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Talks kicked off this week to renegotiate the expiring contract between the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) and Detroit’s big three automakers, General Motors, Chrysler, Ford. The two sides'  want's bascially boil down to this: Workers want to keep their current health and retirement benefits while also getting a bigger share of the companies' new-found profits;  automakers want total labor costs, including wages and benefits, to be competitive with foreign automakers in the U.S.

According to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, here's how the hourly costs compare:

Detroit's Costs

Ford: $58.

General Motors: $56.

Chrysler: $49.

Rivals' Costs:

Toyota: $55.

Nissan: $47.

Hyundai: $44.

The current contract expires September 14.

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