United Auto Workers, Fiat Chrysler Negotiating To Avert Strike

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Negotiators for the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are working to avoid a strike as a deadline looms Wednesday for 40,000 workers at the automaker’s plants. Reuters reported (via Automotive News) that talks were ongoing to move forward or present a new four-year contract to workers after hourly employees roundly rejected the last proposed deal. The Detroit Free Press reported that employees voiced displeasure with the “alternative work schedules” in the contract that would keep workers on four, 10-hour shifts instead of five, 8-hour shifts, sometimes switching between late night and early morning shifts within days. The last strike at Chrysler plants lasted for only 6.5 hours in 2007. Hourly workers have also asked to end the two-tier pay system, which pays veteran Tier 1 workers more than newer, Tier 2 workers hired after the recession. The proposed contract didn’t offer a bridge to Tier 1 for Tier 2 workers, which comprise around 45 percent of FCA’s hourly workforce — the highest among the Big Three. On Wednesday, the UAW posted a primer on its Facebook page for striking workers. The union advised workers that crossing a picket line would void any strike benefits and employees would be subject to discipline under the UAW Constitution. Reuters reported that the UAW may call for a general strike at all FCA plants, or a targeted strike at select plants. Media reports estimate at general strike could cost FCA $1 billion each week.