On Monday the United Auto Workers officials and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV executives were once again at the bargaining table as the US union rank and file members vetoed a proposed agreement the two had inked almost a month ago.
According to labor experts, the union negotiators will try to address some of the concerns of the 40,000 Fiat Chrysler UAW members and the company will try to keep a position where costs are not expanded. UAW President Dennis Williams on Monday morning took to Facebook to address Fiat Chrysler U.S. union members saying they would not have additional health care costs delivered to workers instead of the Detroit Three even as he tries to mitigate the increasing costs by establishing a cooperative pool of covered employees from all the companies. Workers speaking after they rejected last week the tentative agreement said they were worried the UAW was mulling a voluntary employees beneficiary association (VEBA) such as the one created by the union for the retirees at the three carmakers during the negotiations ahead of the last financial crisis.
The UAW now believes this misconception was among the factors that delivered the resounding rejection by 65 percent of FCA workers. “We do not want another VEBA,” commented Williams. “We believe that healthcare should be provided by the employer. What we do want is to find a way to use our collective numbers and knowledge to be ahead of healthcare inflation,” said the official on the UAW’s main Facebook page and one dedicated to the FCA negotiations. This was also the first public message by the UAW president delivered to workers since the union announced the proposed deal was rejected.