United Auto Workers, Fiat Chrysler strike deal

16 Sep 2015


A tentative contract agreement reached yesterday between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and Fiat Chrysler addresses pay and health care issues, but neither side would give specifics about the pact.

The accord was announced by the Italian-American company and the union, which covered around 40,000 workers nationwide following 48 hours of hard bargaining.

It would serve as a model for Fiat Chrysler's Detroit counterparts, General Motors and Ford, both of which were operating on contract extensions.

However, UAW president Dennis Williams had made it clear that he would treat the other two differently as they were more prosperous.

Union officials would need to be briefed on the four-year package, then the full membership would vote on it.

At a news conference following the announcement of the deal Williams said the agreement met the union's goals and at the same time kept Fiat Chrysler competitive with other automakers.

He told reporters he wanted the deal to serve three goals, namely opening for entry-level workers a path to higher pay, rewarding members for sacrifices they made while Fiat Chrysler struggled financially, and dealing with escalating health care costs.

According to commentators, the man issue in the talks was pay raises.

The current wage gap between entry-level workers and veteran employees benefited Fiat Chrysler the most, since 45 per cent of its hourly workers made entry-level wages.

Only around 20 per cent of workers at Ford and GM made the lower wage.

Fiat Chrysler did not have any cap on the number of entry-level workers it could hire, however, that was to be negotiated in the contract talks.

Fiat Chrysler chief, Sergio Marchionne had been outspoken about eliminating the wage gap, however he favoured reduction in top wages in favour of fatter profit-sharing checks.

The past four years had seen FCA workers getting annual profit-sharing checks totaling $9,000 per worker.

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