Chances for UAW-FCA Deal Dim As Two Locals Reject Proposal
Lack of Pathway for Full Wages Main Sticking Point
After an unusual joint press conference between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne and United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams announcing that a tentative deal had been reached between the two parties that would serve as the basis of negotiations for General Motors and Ford, comes word that two of the largest UAW locals representing FCA workers have rejected the deal, Automotive News reports. The primary sticking point for members appears to be the lack of pathway for second-tier workers to eventually work themselves up to parity with tier-one workers over the course of 10 years. The UAW has been lobbying hard to phase out or eliminate the two-tier wage system that was initially implemented after the 2009 bankruptcies and subsequently agreed to again in 2011.
Now that the Detroit Three are enjoying record sales and profits, the UAW membership has higher expectations of reciprocity from the automakers after the concessions they made previously to keep the companies solvent. The pathway toward full wages is not totally unprecedented, as FCA’s Canadian workers negotiated such a deal through their union, Unifor, in which second-tier workers have a pathway to eventually earn full wages after 10 years.
Promises to build profitable and popular trucks and SUVs in U.S. plants while moving most passenger car production to Mexico was not enough of an enticement to workers at the two Locals to approve the deal. If a majority of FCA workers reject the deal, which seems increasingly likely, the chances of a company-wide strike increase. At a minimum, it will force both sides back to the negotiating table to work out differences.
Source: Automotive News