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Posts Tagged ‘auto talks’

Despite Fears of Rejection, Workers at Ford, GM Ratify Contracts

Approval frees union leaders to shift focus to new organizing efforts.

by on Nov.21, 2015

GM and UAW officials shown on July 13, 2015 marking the opening of contract talk.

Workers at both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors voted to accept each of their new four-year contract offers, in the process ending what had turned into an unexpectedly contentious round of negotiations – workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles soundly rejecting their own first contract offer.

A variety of offers pitted not only the United Auto Workers Union against Detroit’s Big Three but also saw the UAW having to fend off more militant members of the union. Starting with President Dennis Williams on down, Autoworkers leaders mobilized to sell a revised Chrysler contract. But they continued to run into trouble even with more lucrative offers from GM and Ford.

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At the smaller of the two, 51.3% of production workers and 52.4% of Ford’s skilled tradesmen voted for the contract. Among other things, that vote will earn 53,000 Ford workers ratification bonuses of $8,500.

“Through a fair and democratic process UAW-Ford members have delivered job security and strong economic gains for their families and communities,” said Jimmy Settles, vice president of the UAW’s Ford department.

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UAW Ready to Strike at Fiat-Chrysler

Both sides face tremendous risks.

by on Oct.06, 2015

Things could get rough for FCA this week.

Less than a week after workers rejected a tentative four-year contract, with talks aimed at sweetening the deal going nowhere, the United Auto Workers Union has issued a strike notification to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Unless the two sides can break the impasse by 11:59 PM on Wednesday, the trans-Atlantic automaker could be hit by the first major walkout in the auto industry since well before the start of the devastating recession that sent the former Chrysler Corp. into bankruptcy.

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The impact could be substantial for FCA, but the UAW and its members also could be seriously harmed by a confrontation, something union President Dennis Williams admitted would be a “failure” when contract talks got underway over the summer.

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UAW Reloading for New Talks with Fiat Chrysler

Union leaders assure rank-and-file message received with no vote.

by on Oct.06, 2015

UAW President Dennis Williams told FCA workers that he's gotten the message as the union prepares for a new round of talks with Fiat Chrysler.

The United Auto Workers is inching back towards a new round of negotiations with Fiat Chrysler, following the rejection of a tentative agreement reached last month that included pay increases, but failed to meet the expectations of union members.

The scope of the rejection came into focus this week when the union disclosed that more than 80% of FCA’s 40,000 unionized employees voted during the ratification election and 65% voted no, meaning that more than the contract lost by more than 10,000 votes.

Beyond the Headlines!

Shifting the 10,000 votes over to the “yes” column represent a tall order for union leadership. Both UAW President Dennis Williams and UAW vice president Norwood Jewel, who led the efforts with FCA, used social media channels to assure union members that they had gotten the message and were willing to address concerns raised during the ratification campaign. (more…)

UAW Workers Reject Fiat Chrysler Contract

Strike could be looming for both FCA and for Ford.

by on Oct.01, 2015

FCA CEO Marchionne and UAW Pres. Williams were all smiles as they began contract talks.

A strike could be looming in the near future for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now that 40,000 workers represented by the United Auto Workers Union have rejected the carmaker’s tentative contract.

The UAW announced the results after the last major FCA assembly plant, in Sterling Heights, Michigan, turned thumbs down on the controversial agreement, which had generated widespread criticism by union activists. Almost 70% of the workers in Sterling Heights rejected the four-year proposal, according to a website run by the union local.

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The announcement comes as a major setback for UAW leaders, especially new President Dennis Williams who was overseeing his first round of national contract talks. The question now is whether the UAW can go back and renegotiate improvements to the agreement without a confrontation. Going into this year’s auto talks, Williams had said he would be willing to strike, if necessary, but said he would consider that possibility a “failure.”

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FCA and UAW Extend Talks on an Hourly Basis

Signs of optimism despite missed deadline.

by on Sep.15, 2015

FCA's Sergio Marchionne and UAW's Dennis Williams shared a laugh during the opening of contract talks earlier this summer.

The United Auto Workers and FCA U.S. fell short in their bid to reach a new labor contract as the old pact expired at midnight on Monday night, but the two sides agreed to an “hour by hour” extension, which suggested negotiators believed they were relatively close to reaching a tentative four-year agreement.

Sergio Marchionne, the Fiat Automobiles NV. chief executive officer, was in Auburn Hills   as the deadline approached, rather than in Germany for the influential Frankfurt Auto Show. Besides skipping Fiat Chrysler’s various product introductions, Marchionne had been scheduled to meet with investors and analyst as part of the ongoing   effort to bolster the company’s image and stock price.

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The FCA CEO said he would have had a chance to promote his new pet project – a merger with General Motors.

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GM, UAW in it “Together” as Contract Talks Open

But “I’m not afraid of confrontation,” says union chief.

by on Jul.13, 2015

Handshakes and smiles mark the opening of GM-UAW contract talks. Shown in front: GM CEO Barra, UAW Pres. Williams, GM negotiator Clegg and UAW bargaining chief Estrada.

Compared to the last time they squared off four years ago, there was a very different mood in the air as negotiators from General Motors and the United Auto Workers shook hands and offered smiles for the cameras Monday morning, marking the start of their quadrennial contract talks.

As they sat down to hammer out a new contract in 2011, the memory of the devastating recession that drove GM into bankruptcy was still fresh. This time, the giant automaker is generating billions in profits and looking to grow even more. But the UAW clearly wants to get its share of that growth, especially for new GM employees who have been stuck in second-tier status that, noted union Pres. Dennis Williams, barely makes them qualify as middle-class.

A Winning Deal!

In nearly identical blue shirts, Williams and GM CEO Mary Barra wore matching smiles and spoke repeatedly about working ”together” to find “creative solutions. But while he cautioned that a strike was not a goal but a sign of failure, Williams also declared “I’m not afraid of confrontation” during a media Q&A session.

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Top Labor Negotiators Leave GM, FCA

Departures highlight differences in upcoming union talks.

by on Jun.11, 2015

Cathy Clegg is taking over as the lead negotiator for GM in its talks with the UAW for the recently retired Rex Blackwell.

Even as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne pushes for merger talks with rival General Motors, the two companies are on different paths when it comes to negotiations with the United Auto Workers.

GM has carefully orchestrated a series of announcements of new investments in plants in places such as: Pontiac, Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan, plus Arlington, Texas, and Kansas City, Kansas, in recent weeks.

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In each case, the announcement, which have involved several GM executives, including GM CEO Mary Barra, have underscored the company’s commitment to preserving and even adding jobs at plants in the U.S., covered by the automaker’s labor contract with the United Auto Workers. (more…)

Canadian Workers Reject Demand for Concessions

Has Canada become “the most expensive place in the world to build a car”?

by on Aug.15, 2012

High Canadian labor costs have led GM to move production of the Chevrolet Equinox from Oshawa, Ontario to Spring Hill, TN.

Negotiations between Detroit’s three automaker and the Canadian Auto Workers Union have gotten underway in Toronto. And with the CAW’s contract with the automakers expiring in mid-September there could be trouble ahead.

The talks are expected to be difficult because the rising value of the Canadian dollar has made General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler plants more expensive to operate – leading the makers to hint they’ll press for new concessions. But CAW leaders are clearly reluctant to depart from the traditional contract elements, such as an annual wage increase, in favor of profit sharing, which the American car makers are expected to demand.

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Ken Lewenza, CAW president, also has indicated he is dissatisfied with the Canadian government failure to come to the aid of the country’s auto industry. Other industrial nations, including the United States, have found ways to help their auto industry, he noted in an opinion piece he wrote for a Canadian newspaper. Canada has done little since participating in the auto bailout in 2009.

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Winners, Losers and American Car Buyers

by on Oct.20, 2011

Who won when GM and the UAW hammered out a new contract? Do consumers really care?

The trouble with our winners-losers society is that it often misses the point of the game.

Consider the recently concluded talks between the United Auto Workers union and Detroit’s car companies.

Critics of those agreements contend that the manufacturers got four years of labor peace for little or nothing. They are missing the point, which is this:

It's Free!

The American consumer, the third and most important party at the bargaining table, does not give a damn.

As long as that remains the case, the UAW should be happy to have any contract at all.

Here’s why:

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Chrysler Commits to 2,100 More Jobs, $4.5 Bil Investment

But new UAW contract puts less cash in workers’ pockets.

by on Oct.12, 2011

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announcing the pay-off of the maker's federal bailout in May.

As part of its new contract with the United Auto Workers Union, Chrysler will invest $4.5 billion in new vehicles and technology, including two compact models based on Fiat products that will be built at the automaker’s assembly plants in Michigan and Illinois.

But the deal – which also guarantees at least 2,100 new jobs – comes with a price.  The union agreed to accept a smaller signing bonus than at General Motors or Ford Motor Co. to help the company achieve financial stability. And only half the $3,500 bonus will be paid immediately upon ratification while the balance will be paid after the company reaches financial stability.

The provision reduces the upfront cost of the contract which also includes a pay increase for second tier workers and limited changes in the health care plans. An additional $1,000 annual bonus also will be deferred until the company is in better financial health, the union said.

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The agreement was reached after a series of bruising meeting between UAW President Bob King and Chrysler/Fiat chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne, who had hoped to reduce the cost of the pact while preserving the company’s working relationship with the union. King had said he wasn’t looking for a confrontation with Chrysler but wanted his members to see the contract as fair.

“It’s a new day at Chrysler,” said King, officially confirming the settlement, which came almost a month after the original September 14th deadline.

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