By on September 28, 2015


United Auto Workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jefferson North Assembly Plant and its Kokomo Transmission Plant voted down a contract proposal over the weekend, marking the latest and perhaps the most significant defeat to the union’s proposal, the Detroit Free Press reported.

According to reports, 66 percent of the workers, who build Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos at the Jefferson facility, vetoed the contract.

The contract faces an uncertain future with the rest of UAW workers at FCA, and while overall passage is mathematically possible, the growing rate of rejection doesn’t look particularly promising.

According to the Detroit Free Press, workers were unhappy about the retention of the “tiered” pay system that keeps veteran, Tier 1 workers and newly hired, Tier 2 workers at different pay rates.

“I can’t see how the International (UAW) was thinking about us in this contract. I don’t think they had our best interests in mind,” Mike Kirkpatrick, who has worked at the Mack Avenue Engine Complex for nearly two years, told the Detroit News. “They promised to get rid of the two tier system and they did just the opposite and created a bunch of tiers.”

Parts suppliers and axle operations workers said the contract created a third “tier” that keeps those workers at a lower wage than Tier 2 workers. Those workers last week rejected the proposed contract last week.

UAW President Dennis Williams said last week that those workers could apply, and receive priority applications for, higher-paying factory jobs.

Workers also say that the contract didn’t reduce the number of FCA workers who were hired as lower-paid, Tier 2 workers. Roughly 45 percent of FCA workers are Tier 2 employees.

Voting on the contract will continue until Wednesday at larger plants including Sterling Heights, Michigan and Warren, Indiana.

If the contract is rejected overall, it could force union negotiators back to the table with FCA or workers at the plants could strike.

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27 Comments on “Apparently, FCA-UAW Workers Don’t Really Like Proposed Deal...”

  • avatar

    Hey! I see an opportunity here for Sergio to move more production out of UAW plants and down to Mexico.

  • avatar

    For future reference, can Chinese auto workers reject a contract proposal or will the government just shoot them and replace them?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “I can’t see how the International (UAW) was thinking about us in this contract.”

    Of course they weren’t; they protect the UAW fat cats first.

    And a higher-paying contract will simply result in fewer jobs – good for the survivors, not so good for the plank-walkers.

    • 0 avatar

      I bet this was the best deal the UAW could get from Sergio.

      The members just don’t know this and are blaming their “negotiators” and “collective bargainers” for such a thin and sparse deal.

      They’ll come around when faced with losing their jobs to Mexico.

      I believe that Sergio is a “take it or leave it” kinda guy. We saw this earlier after Chrysler was sold to Fiat with a $1.3B bribe. Two UAW members on the board, with no input, and powerless to affect the Board’s decision.

      • 0 avatar

        They are fighting for this contract because times are good and they know jobs are going to be eventually sent to Mexico. However, FCA isn’t building another in Mexico right now, and they need the UAW to continue to build the profit machines that are RAM and Jeep. The UAW needs to eliminate the tiers and get as much pay as possible in order to offset the loses next time. If they don’t get it now, they never will.

        • 0 avatar

          I agree with all you wrote. I see it that way too.

          However, I can also see Sergio has options that the UAW has not because Fiatsler and Sergio will go on even if jobs are taken out of UAW plants and moved to Mexico.

          Mexico and Brazil will come out ahead and the UAW will be left holding an empty bag.

          Besides, after the bailout the US government gave the UAW, Sergio should be heralded as Chrysler and the UAW’s savior.

          Sergio kept the UAW working. These ingrates are pulling the same schit now that helped drive Chrysler into bankruptcy in 2009: Wages and benefits out of proportion to the work actually accomplished.

          If China had taken over Chrysler’s dead carcass the UAW would be in the same boat that the Longshoremen’s Union of the West Coast find themselves in now.

          • 0 avatar

            Brazil? How many manufacturers import auto parts or cars from Brazil to the USA – zero. There is no free trade agreement with Brazil and to top it off, Brazil has strong auto unions and their workers make a decent living.

            As far as “work actually accomplished”, a car is a car is a car, be it here in the USA, Germany, Japan or Korea, and yet they all have great wages and benefits for the same “work actually accomplished” as us here.

          • 0 avatar

            Brazil production would not be for the US. It would be for Brazil, South & Central America.

            Sergio had mentioned at another time he was interested in moving production to Brazil.

          • 0 avatar

            Actually, a mis-step by Iacocca caused Daimler and Cerberus to wreck Chrysler. That mess started when Iacocca bypassed Bob Lutz for CEO, picking ex-GM lifer Bob Eaton, who sold off a profitable Chrysler to Daimler for a personal payoff.

            It’s hard to believe Chrysler was making 3 million cars and $5 billion in annual profits just 18 years ago, with the LH cars, cloud cars, Neon, Dodge trucks, and Jeep – a full lineup of Chrysler and Dodge cars, and Plymouth too. They went from all that in ’97 to bankruptcy in ’08, and a pitiful lineup today under Fiat.

  • avatar

    IIRC, people were surprised how fast they reached the deal. And now it’s being voted on quickly.

    In my experience, finding technical issues with contracts takes time. I wonder if the people voting on it read it and discovered these concerns themselves, or is another party involved who told them about the problems. I don’t put it past these parties from trying to get workers to veto it to somehow get better leverage for a second, more advantageous contract.

    • 0 avatar

      “people were surprised how fast they reached the deal.”

      Yes they were!

      I have visions of Sergio telling the UAW reps, “Here’s the deal! Take it or leave it.”

      It was a deal they could not refuse…….

  • avatar

    Honestly, I’m just here to say that I want one of those tire-putter-onner-gun things. That looks awesome.

  • avatar

    I thought the default picture for FCA/UAW talks was the smiling, big breasted girl with the Mopar sign behind her?

  • avatar

    if the UAW truly represented their workers’ best interest they would stand for Solidarity and demand “Tier One for Everyone”. if Reuther were alive today he would shut ’em down and force manufacturers to the table to sign equal pay for equal work.

    “Tier One for Everyone” is a nationwide call for the UAW to live up to it’s founding principle of Solidarity.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m with you on this, I think closing the Tier 2 over time (immediately would be awesome, but they’ll never concede to that demand). I think there is some gamesmanship to this round of bargaining. But who knows exactly what’s going on in the UAW at any given moment, my few contacts in the USW talk with me about occasionally but I’ve not heard anything explicit yet.

  • avatar

    I like Cameron’s pictures better!

  • avatar
    65 Stang

    Soon the unions in America are going to price themselves out of jobs. There are many other countries who will manufacture the parts and they will just need low cost workers to put the parts together to assemble the cars.

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