Members of the United Auto Workers has ratified a new four-year labor contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.
The contract, which was approved by 71% to 29%, was the last of the deals negotiated with Detroit’s automakers this fall after a 40 strike at General Motors. It includes a $9,000 signing bonus and other bonuses equal to 4% of union members base wage in the first and third year of the pact as well as a 3% general wage increase in the second and fourth year of the contract.
The agreement also put about two-thirds of the FCA’s hourly employees as new hires, who will now have a chance to earn the top wage of $32 per hour by the end of contract and will make hundreds of temporary employees full time with better wages and health-care benefits, which are some of the best offered in American industry.
FCA said the new four-year collective bargaining agreement builds on the company’s commitment to grow its U.S. manufacturing operations by providing for total investments of $9 billion and the creation of 7,900 new or secured jobs.
“We wouldn’t be the company we are today without the contributions of our UAW-represented workforce, and this contract recognizes and rewards their dedication in helping us achieve that success,” Mark Stewart, chief operating officer, FCA North America, said.
“Working with the UAW, we are pleased to have reached a new agreement that allows us to continue our record of adding good-paying UAW-represented jobs, building strong families, investing in our communities and offering exceptional vehicles to our customers.”
The UAW expressed its pleasure with the new deal as well, especially the changes made to the status of so many employees.
“Every full-time production employee currently at FCA will be at top rate by the end of this four-year agreement,” said Cindy Estrada, UAW vice president and director of the UAW FCA Department. “All temporary workers now have a defined pathway to full time and top pay as well.”
The pattern agreement provides a pathway for temporary and full-time workers to top pay; creates parity on full-time worker health care; adds coverage for prescription drug costs for temporary workers; includes a signing bonus and wages that are consistent with pattern; and adds $4.5 billion in new investment in addition to the previously announced $4.5 billion investment that includes a new Detroit plant.
During the past four years, FCA has created 6,500 new UAW-represented jobs, more than any other manufacturer and invested more than $8 billion in its U.S. operations, exceeding its 2015 commitments.
FCA noted with the new contract it is doubling up on the $4.5 billion investment it previously announced in February 2019, which included investments in five existing Michigan facilities and the construction of a new state-of-the-art, sustainable assembly plant in Detroit.
These investments will support the production of two new Jeep brand vehicles and the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as electrified models. In total, the company will add nearly 6,500 new jobs at these facilities, including 5,000 in the city of Detroit.
The UAW also announced its tepid support for the new USMCA trade deal, provided the changes negotiated by the AFL-CIO and Democrats in the House of Representatives are actually reflected in the final text of the treaty.
“UAW members have opposed NAFTA since its inception a quarter century ago because they feared it would lead to the closing of countless manufacturing plants throughout our country and the moving of hundreds of thousands of good U.S. jobs to Mexico. Time has unfortunately proven UAW members right and it is for this very reason we welcomed the renegotiation of NAFTA (also known as USMCA) and pushed for more to be done.
“While the final text of the agreement has not been made available for review, we already know that USMCA Is highly unlikely to bring factories back from Mexico, as some have promised. It will hopefully stop some of the bleeding of U.S. jobs and UAW members will vigilantly monitor enforcement of the agreement to make sure multinational corporations treat their workers right,” the union statement said.
“We will also fight to make sure Mexico fully implements its labor law reforms and puts an end to company unions and sham contracts that pave for U.S. companies to send jobs south of the border,” the UAW said.
The union also said much more work remains to fight against the offshoring of jobs and economic inequality.
“While trade deals are important, they alone will not cure all our ills,” the union said.