UAW prepares members for possible Fiat Chrysler strike – USA TODAY
DETROIT — The UAW took additional steps Wednesday to brace its members for a potential strike with just hours left before its current contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles expires.
The union posted a primer that answers common questions about what happens during a strike on its UAW Chrysler Talks Facebook page Wednesday morning explaining what a strike is, who is eligible for strike benefits, how much workers are paid by the union during the strike and the medical benefits that are covered.
About 43% of Fiat Chrysler’s 40,000 UAW workers were hired after 2007 and many of them have never experienced a strike.
The UAW Facebook postings come as the UAW and Fiat Chrysler are attempting to restructure a tentative agreement that workers overwhelming rejected during a two-week voting process that ended last week.
After that contract was rejected by 65% of the workers who voted, the union decided to restart talks with Fiat Chrysler instead of moving on to either Ford or General Motors. The UAW represents about 140,000 autoworkers at the Detroit Three and is in the middle of negotiating new contracts with all three companies.
The UAW issued a notice to the automaker Tuesday saying it would terminate its current contract at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday night with or without a new contract, which could trigger a strike. The UAW also posted strike instructions at many of Fiat Chrysler’s plants Tuesday that explained what workers should do if a strike is called.
While the UAW and the company declined to comment on the status of the negotiations Wednesday morning, both confirmed that discussions were ongoing as of Tuesday.
The UAW has four options Wednesday: It could reach an new agreement with Fiat Chrysler, it could agree to extend the contract deadline if discussions are going well but are incomplete, it could call a targeted strike at selected plants or it could call a nationwide strike.
David Craig, a worker at Fiat Chrysler’s transmission plant in Kokomo, Ind., said workers at his plant are ready to fight for a better contract.
“I hate the whole idea of a strike, but if it comes to that, why then I’m union all the way,” said Craig. “There were a lot of things wrong with the recently turned-down deal, but on many levels it was a good deal, too.”