Steel Markets

UAW Locals Saying No to Proposed Contract

Written by Sandy Williams

UAW voting is taking place on the tentative agreement between Fiat Chrysler and the union but early signs show workers are dissatisfied with the terms of the contract.

The agreement must be ratified by a majority vote by 40,000 UAW members at 37 FCA sites. As of Friday, the majority of votes cast at UAW locals have been against the tentative agreement.

According to the Detroit Free Press, union members at Local 685, representing 5,000 workers at transmission plants in Kokomo, voted against the contact by an overwhelming margin: 77 percent of production workers and 65 percent of skilled trade workers. Workers at Sterling Stamping, Center Line, Trenton Engine Toledo Machinery and Perrysburg have voted no. Dundee Engine Plant reportedly approved the approved the contract. Passage of the agreement has had better success among salaried workers, with those at Dundee and Toledo voting their approval.

Workers who voted against the agreement are concerned that removal of the 25 percent cap on entry level workers will prevent the pay raise to $28 that was promised to workers in 2011 once the cap was exceeded.

The new contract has no cap and provides a pay range of $17.00 to $25.35 per hour for entry level workers, up from the previous 15.78-19.28 per hour wage scale.

Workers are also worried about where FCA will invest the $5.3 billion it has promised during the next four years with reports being circulated of shifts in production domestically and to Mexico.

The Health Care Co-Op is something new to workers who are unsure how it will affect their benefits and costs.

It is also suggested workers are upset about broken promises by management and the lack of communication during the negotiation process.

Voting will be continuing this week through Wednesday. If the proposed agreement is not ratified it will make it more difficult for the UAW to negotiate contracts with Ford and General Motors and draw out the negotiating process. If ratification of the tentative proposal fails, the UAW could choose to strike, continue bargaining, or table the FCA agreement while the UAW focuses on negotiations with Ford and GM.
(Source: Detroit Free Press)

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