Last week on Friday the US union United Auto Workers’ top officials agreed to send the new, renegotiated four-year contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to the around 40,000 workers for another round of the ratification vote.
Last month the UAW inked another tentative agreement with the FCA executives but the rank and file members soundly rejected the deal, setting up the start of a crisis at the union and US automaker. But before a strike was initiated the negotiators delivered a new proposal that would include the gradual elimination of the much-debated two-tier pay structure. UAW President Dennis Williams said he misjudged and made some false assumptions that helped the initial deal get its swift rejection – he was oblivious to the intensity of the lower-paid second tier workers discontent following the decision to bridge the gap rather than close it with the salaries of veteran workers. “It’s one of the biggest contracts we’ve ever negotiated” he said about the new deal.
UAW local leaders met on Friday in Detroit and approved the tentative agreement, clearing the path towards a renewed ratification process. “If (UAW members) don’t vote for this, then their expectations are too unrealistic and I don’t know if they can get a contract at Chrysler,” comments Arthur Schwartz, a labor consultant and former GM negotiator. The new proposal includes the timetable of eight years for a new second-tier worker to reach the top pay, which has been increased from $25 in the rebuked contact to around $29 now.