United Auto Workers (UAW) voted in favor a new four-year contract, but in a rare twist. Most of the factory workers voted for the deal, but skilled trades workers such as pipe-fitters and electricians voted against it.

With agreements just reached with Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., the Chrysler agreement looks to give the domestic industry four years of labor peace.

A total of 54.75 percent voted in favor of the accord while 45.25 percent voted against.

“With this agreement, we have made significant progress in times of economic uncertainty,” UAW Vice President General Holiefield said in a statement.

“We were able to make headway in bridging the gap between the New Hire pay and that of the existing workforce, return some of the benefits that members previously gave up to help the company survive, and win new jobs and investment in UAW plants.”

The agreement recognizes hourly employees with a simpler and more transparent profit sharing plan that directly aligns with the Company’s performance.
In addition, a new quality performance-based bonus is being implemented that will give employees an opportunity to benefit from improvements in the initial quality of Chrysler Group vehicles.

The UAW said its International Executive Board investigated why skilled trade workers voted “no” and determined they were predominantly economic and not unique to skilled-trade work.

“They have not done this on a national vote, not that I’m aware of,” said Art Schwartz, a former GM labor negotiator and president of Labor and Economics Associates. “They are in foreign territory.”

The company’s Canadian workers are represented by a different union, which will negotiate with subsidiaries of the three big U.S. automakers next year.


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