The United Auto Workers union is going to have to deliver a strategy that might include feuding with the Detroit Three automakers – or at least two of them – as the members seem to grow discontent with the compromises made by the union during negotiations.
It appears that most of the circa 40, 000 UAW workers employed by Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s US unit have rejected the tentative four-year agreement that was inked by UAW President Dennis Williams and CEO Sergio Marchionne earlier this month, according to union representative comments on Wednesday. Additionally, the UAW’s main negotiator with the second largest US carmaker, Ford, announced a strike could be called as early as Sunday by 7,500 workers at a plant close to Kansas City, Mo. That takes care of manufacturing for the crucial top-selling F-150 pickup truck due to disagreements with the local deal. Experts and analysts also see the move by UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles as a signal for rank and file members the union is ready to hit the company if demands are not met – which was one point of worry among FCA’s UAW members.
The expected contract rejection at FCA and the threat of strike at Ford – a company that has been keen to have peaceful labor relations for more than three decades – shows how American workers are losing their patience. With the auto industry in full throttle, the rank and file members don’t care about UAW leaders worrying about lost jobs to Mexico or the non-union factories in the southern United States. They do care about the incredible profits made in North America by all three companies and the fact that some of them haven’t seen a raise in more than a decade.