The UAW union officials quickly rallied and returned to the discussion table with Fiat Chrysler executives, delivering on Thursday a new tentative deal between the carmaker and the union.
But the quickly inked deal has been met with skeptical views, indicating the union officials might face an uphill battle to have the rank and file members ratify the second tentative contract after the previous one was rejected by 65 percent of voters. Certain voices inside the member rank have said the initial tentative agreement actually strained them even further, treated retirees unfairly and didn’t resolve their biggest issue – salaries. That proposed deal was aimed at lowering the gap between entry-level and veteran UAW workers, but members said it did not close it sufficiently or fast enough.
After failing to get the first agreement ratified, the UAW issued a strike warning against Fiat Chrysler, the weakest of the three Detroit automakers and highly dependent on the profits it makes in North America. The work clash was averted at the last minute but rank and file members see another miss for the union if the wage problem has not been thoroughly addressed. Local UAW officials are now meeting in Detroit on Friday to see the new deal detailed. Some of them said the main problem with the initial agreement was that second-tier employees would have needed eight years to reach the highest allotment of $25 per hour – roughly the span of two contracts. “We’ve reached a proposed Tentative Agreement that I believe addresses our members’ principal concerns about their jobs and their futures,” commented UAW president Dennis Williams in a statement announcing the new deal.