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Posts Tagged ‘two-tier wages’

UAW Picks FCA as Strike Target

Negotiations enter final stages as old pact expires.

by on Sep.14, 2015

FCA's Sergio Marchionne and UAW's Dennis Williams share a laugh recently. The union selected FCA as the target company in talks.

Contract talks between the United Auto Workers and Detroit’s three automakers entered their final phase as the union selected FCA U.S. as the target for finalizing a new labor agreement for three domestic carmakers.

Brian Rothenberg, UAW senior communications adviser, the selection roughly 36 hours ahead of the expiration of the current contract at 11:59 p.m. Sept. 14.

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FCA US LLC confirmed a short time later that it has been selected as the company to set the pattern on a collective bargaining agreement with the UAW, but declined to comment further on the process. (more…)

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.

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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.


Chrysler Deal Sidesteps Possible Strike in Canada

Canadians avoid two-tier wage system.

by on Sep.27, 2012

As part of its new contract with the CAW, Chrysler will maintain three shifts at its Windsor minivan plant.

The Canadian Auto Workers Union has reached a tentative settlement with Chrysler Canada by agreeing to a tentative contract that basically follows the pattern set during the union’s earlier negotiations with General Motors and Ford Motor Co..

The agreement, if ratified by Chrysler workers, will bring another four years of labor peace to the Canadian auto industry’s biggest carmakers and its 21,000-member unionized workforce. The CAW also can claim a measure of victory in a difficult bargaining environment, having basically preserved jobs in Canada despite having the highest labor costs in North America.

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While accepting cuts in starting wages, the CAW protected the principal that that workers will eventually grow to wage parity with veteran colleagues. New hires will start at a lower wage — $20 an hour instead of $24 — and will take 10 years instead of six to reach the top rate, currently $34. They will also receive a weaker pension plan that combines the existing defined-benefit plan with a new defined-contribution plan.


Marchionne Wants to Eliminate 2-Tier Wage Structure at Chrysler

“Economic disparity…cannot go on indefinitely.”

by on Oct.28, 2011

CEO Sergio Marchionne is signalling Chrysler must find a way to eliminate the 2-tier union wage structure.

Despite the significant cost savings it is bringing to the smallest of the domestic automakers, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne signaled that the maker’s two-tier wage structure is something he plans to eliminate in the not-too-distant future.

About one in eight of Chrysler’s 26,000 union workers in the U.S. currently fall into the second tier, earning about half as much as more senior members of the United Auto Workers Union – a figure expected to grow to at least one in four by the time the newly ratified 4-year UAW contract expires in 2015, said Marchionne during a conference call.

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The union failed to eliminate the two-tier structure during its recent contract talks with Chrysler, General Motors and Ford, though it did win so-called “new hires” a modest increase of about $3 an hour in wages and some additional benefits.  But in an unexpected turn, Marchionne suggested that having multiple grades is “structurally undesirable.”


UAW Faces Revolt Over Two-Tier Wages

A symbol of union’s decline.

by on Aug.16, 2011

GM says the two-tier wage system lit shift production of the the Chevy Sonic to the U.S., but workers say they aren't getting a "living wage."

The United Auto Workers top leadership is facing a potential rebellion over the issue of the two-tier wage system approved for Detroit automakers, which has become a potent symbol of the union’s steady decline.

The two-tier wages were initially approved by the UAW in some contracts signed in the late 1990s but only entered the union’s critical contracts with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler in 2003.  The scope of the second-tier wage program was dramatically expanded in 2007 when union negotiators accepted the rationale promoted first by GM than by Chrysler that it would permit the companies to hire new workers and become more competitive against Japanese transplants.

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The acceptance of the two-tier wage agreement four years ago also represented the tacit acknowledgement by union negotiators of the downward pressure asserted by non-union transplants in the Southeast. Some of the newest plants — such as the Volkswagen facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee that opened this year – are paying barely $15 in combined wages and benefits, fraction of what workers earn in Detroit.

Detroit’s Big Three say they need to match those lowerlabor costs to be competitive — but domestic workers insisting they’re not getting a “living wage,” and could make it difficult to negotiate new contracts in the weeks ahead.