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Local union leaders send Fiat Chrysler contract to members


December 4, 2019
By Tom Krisher, The Associated Press

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Union leaders from Fiat Chrysler factories are sending a new four-year contract to a membership vote.

The 47,000 members of the United Auto Workers union at the company will vote on the deal starting Friday.

Local leaders assembled on Wednesday in Detroit to go over the pact, which includes a $9,000 bonus per worker upon ratification. The company also has promised $4.5 billion worth of new investments in U.S. factories.

The union reached agreement with Fiat Chrysler last weekend. The new contract also offers a mix of lump sums and pay raises for longtime workers, full top wages for new hires within four years and a path for temporary employees to become full-time after three years of work.

The Fiat Chrysler contract also adds 12.5 per cent to the union workers’ profit-sharing formula. The UAW says the deal created more than 7,900 jobs, including a $4.5 billion investment previously announced at two factories in Detroit.

Fiat Chrysler is the last of the Detroit automakers to settle with the union. Workers at General Motors ratified their contract Oct. 31, ending a 40-day strike that paralyzed GM’s U.S. factories. Ford workers followed by approving a contract in November.

Mike Booth, president of a UAW local in Marysville, Michigan, north of Detroit, said he made a plea to the leaders to reject the deal. Although there was some dissent, the contract was approved on a voice vote, he said.

Under the contract, Booth’s factory, which makes truck axles, would be transferred by Fiat Chrysler to auto parts supply company ZF-TRW. The plant’s 800 workers are Fiat Chrysler employees and will have to transfer to jobs in Detroit.

Booth alleges that corrupt union officials who were bribed by the company agreed to the change. The union local has sued the international UAW and Fiat Chrysler in an effort to block the transfer.

The International UAW has been rocked by a bribery and embezzlement scandal that began at the jointly run Fiat Chrysler-UAW training centre. Two former vice-presidents who negotiated with FCA are alleged by federal officials to have taken bribes to influence contract negotiations.

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