Ford Motor Co.'s labor chief said the automaker hopes to avoid a strike in its talks for a new labor deal with the United Auto Workers union, which officially began on Friday.

"The last thing we want to do is incur a strike," said Marty Malloy at the kickoff ceremony in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford was the last of the three U.S. automakers to open talks with the UAW, following Chrysler on Monday and General Motors Co on Wednesday. While the UAW cannot strike GM or Chrysler, it has no such limitation with Ford.

However, UAW President Bob King reiterated: "I don't think about strikes. We don't collectively think about strikes."

King said one of his proposals in the talks will be for the union to get seats on Ford's board of directors.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman and Bernie Woodall; editing by Carol Bishopric)