It was supposed to be a grand coming together of two opposite sides, but it was neither much of a coming together nor overly grand. Before smiling for the cameras during the ceremonial handshake, the state and UAW would not be seen in the same room - each meeting on opposite ends of the building - with the press stuck somewhere in the middle. Much of what happens at contract negotiation meetings occurs behind closed doors.
Wednesday the state and the UAW were very reluctant to give out any type of specifics as to what they will negotiate. Neither side would talk about its goals for benefits, wages, pensions, healthcare or anything.
"It would be premature for me to assume that we are going to do something in a particular area. We are going to wait and have good, good, discussions," said Jan Winters the Director of State Employer.
"We need to look at how we create better labor management relationships we need to look at privatization in the state of Michigan. Privatization should only happen when it saves our tax payer dollars," said Cindy Estrada, UAW Vice President.
UAW representatives far outnumbered those representing the state.
Both sides strongly disagree over right to work's impact on state employees, and a decision is pending in the court of appeals where both say it will be decided. However both sides say agree right to work will not affect their negotiations.
"There are great opportunities to save based on some creative problem solving, the culture that Cindy is talking about that we want to create with the state, that we have made progress on and expand further," said Bob King, the President of the UAW.
Each side is confident negotiations will be successful.
The current employee contract ends December 31.