The rank and file members of the United Automotive Workers union have voiced their mounting discontent – they voted against the proposed contract deal with the third largest US automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
And the issue is now going to further complicate the leaders need to recover from this defeat and mount a strategy to still sign a four-year agreement with the carmaker and its Detroit peers, GM and Ford. According to reports, UAW President Dennis Williams and its vice president for Fiat Chrysler, Norwood Jewell, said during a meeting with local union heads the negotiators would soon have an approach for the automaker. It appears that a strike in the short term strategy has not been discussed yet. Meanwhile, to showcase their resolve, UAW leaders and workers at a Ford factory producing a crucial pickup model have threatened a strike on Sunday, which led to a dispute resolve on Saturday. The loss to approve the FCA contract shows what pressures the UAW and its leadership.
The incredible auto industry recovery in North America has not mitigated the threat of lower-wage factories in Mexico or the non-union factories in the Southern United States. FCA is now expected to put up a hard bargain if workers want higher wages than the ones agreed in the failed deal, according to sources. “The FCA contract did not resolve the two-tiered wage system, it only made it worse,” comments Scott Houldieson, a local UAW official at Ford’s Chicago assembly plant. And UAW workers and officials believe a contract mirroring the FCA one taken to GM and Ford would face the same rejection.