UAW to explore new deal with Fiat Chrysler – USA TODAY
DETROIT — The UAW will formally explore whether it should renegotiate a proposed contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles before making the bolder decision to move on to General Motors or Ford to reach a deal, according to a report obtained by the Free Press.
UAW President Dennis Williams told local elected union officials Thursday that he’ll contact FCA and request a meeting to discuss the list of issues that union members identified as stumbling blocks to reaching a new master agreement.
After Williams and FCA executives meet, the UAW plans to reconvene its council meeting, according to the memo. No new date has been selected.
A UAW spokesman and a FCA spokeswoman both declined to comment on any plans for discussions or meetings between the two sides.
On Thursday, hundreds of elected FCA union leaders met in Warren for a post mortem of the failed ratification vote for a four-year tentative agreement reached Sept. 15. FCA union memberships rejected the agreement 65% to 35% over a two-week nationwide voting period.
The Detroit Free Press obtained a memo with an overview of the six-hour meeting and the specific concerns at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant as compiled by Local 1700 President Charles Bell. The memo was given to the Free Press by a worker, not Bell. But he confirmed the leaked document’s authenticity.
The concerns are fairly representative of those expressed by Fiat Chrysler workers across the country, largely in social media forums, and range from instituting a 25% cap on the number of entry-level Tier 2 workers at FCA to more routine policies on attendance, sick days and vacation time.
At the meeting, union officials provided reports, plant by plant, of the main issues that drove workers to reject the agreement resoundingly.
Bell condensed his local memberships concerns into a top 13 list. It was edited for brevity and clarity, but the order is the same.
At Sterling Heights, the top 13 issues are:
1. The 25% cap on the number of lower-paid, entry-level workers never materialized, leaving workers feeling as if they were lied to with a past promise that it would be implemented in 2015.
2. The creation of a health care co-op is being interpreted by members as a change to their coverage that will cost them more, and there are concerns their leadership is hiding that fact.
3. Attendance policy is described as too rigid.
4. The $3,000 signing bonus is $500 less than in 2011. Members think it should be higher because the companies are more profitable today.
5. Concern that there is no defined route for entry-level workers to reach the top pay of $28.23 during the life of the four-year agreement. It will take seven years for some workers.
6. Employees wanted to eliminate the practice of using two weeks of their vacation during the summer shutdown period. And while they won the ability to take vacation in one-day increments, it does not benefit those with 80 hours of vacation time or less.
7. Lack of sick days.
8. Failure to bring the cost of living allowance back.
9. Entry-level workers have a long wait to get dental and vision benefits.
10. Failure to bring back overtime after eight hours.
11. Failure to reinstate an annual bonus for retirees. They receive a $1,000 car voucher.
12. Failure to resolve the employee referral issue.
13. Concerns about FCA plans to shift car production to Mexico and other changes to which plants make which products in the future.