By on October 6, 2015

Norwood Jewell UAW Circa July 2015

United Auto Workers at a Kokomo, Indiana plant have given notice to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that it would strike Wednesday night, Automotive News reported. The notice is reportedly being used at other plants.

The automaker acknowledged the notification via a statement released Tuesday:

FCA US confirms that it has received strike notification from the UAW. The Company continues to work with the UAW in a constructive manner to reach a new agreement.

The automaker and the union, which represents 40,000 hourly workers, couldn’t get passed its proposed contract for workers last week. Workers rejected the contract and said the proposed deal didn’t raise wages enough for some workers, and didn’t fully outline the proposed health care plan that would cover its workers.

The Detroit News reported that 65 percent of the workers rejected the contract.

Analysts predicted that a strike could cost the automaker $1 billion per week.

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54 Comments on “BREAKING: Union Workers Prepare to Strike at Fiat Chrysler Plants...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Geez these people have been a little uppity lately. So we know the contract was rejected, so does rejection automatically equal strike or does it just get renegotiated and this is related to something else?

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      My relatives in unions always told me: the authorization to strike is not the call to strike. It is more of a way for the union leaders to make the honest statement, “Well, the crazies don’t agree. So, you can either sweeten it and deal with me, or I can give you over to the crazies. I am the moderate asking you for more.” It is a simultaneous rejection of the moderate (union leader) position and an escalation of threat to get leverage, but it isn’t the actual strike. That’s why it’s in the future — hurry up and deal. They can always delay the call when Wednesday midnight arrives.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Killing one’s host is a sure sign that UAW executives do not comprehend symbiosis.
    Don’t they realize that Italian and Spanish are very similar?
    (Read Marchionne would fit right in in Mexico)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    They out to direct their frustration toward the union bosses for negotiating a supposedly bad deal.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      ^^ “ought”
      Edit is broken.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I keep feeling there’s more to the contract rejection than meets the eye. It seemed they rejected it awfully quick and had very specific reasons. From my experience with contracts & lawyers, it takes a lot more time to extract that level of detail, which implied they were tipped off to the contract issues. That implies someone has an ulterior motive to the contract rejection & perhaps the strike as well.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    The union took the first deal offered by FCA and it sounded like a so-so one. This is clearly a time to strike while the irons hot and put FCA to the test. I doubt they’ll be striking more than a few days or really at all.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “put FCA to the test”

      It’s a test that only FCA can win.

      If they strike, the workforce will eventually be reduced, and the plant will eventually move. That’d really teach FCA to mess with the union.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Sorry, where your’s empirical evidence to assert your assumption?

        It’s tiresome to read everybody going with this assumption without evidence.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Xeranar – since when does proof or logic need to be the foundation for discussion? It is much easier to fan the flames of an ideological fire than that of a logical one ;)

          The assumption is based on the fact that most companies have moved production to Mexico or other such locations.

          Is that primarily due to avoiding unions? There isn’t clear evidence to that other than companies deliberately setting up shop in anti-union southern states.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou_BC,
            There is other supporting evidence that the US manufacturers are off shoring automotive production.

            Content is a significant part of vehicle manufacture in many nation across the globe. The US is no different in this form of protectionism. NAFTA as you are aware is “one”. So any “content” that is NAFTA sourced is considered “local” content.

            This is where the manufacturers are working around these regulations to maximize profits and reduce the cost to the consumer. I whole heartedly support the manufactuers with this use of regulations.

            I read a very interesting article from one of the reputable business journals which showed that US vehicle production has increased markedly over the past couple of years, if I recall when the article was published just under a year ago the US increase in vehicle production was around two million.

            The US industry has done this with very little increase in the number of workers in the automotive industry.

            What has occurred is many of the vehicle components are sourced from Mexico. This aided the manufacturers to source components from China, whilst maintain the “local” content to meet regulatory policy of “local content”.

            So, the US is virtually just becoming an assembly point and less a component manufacturer.

            Overall this is good for the consumer as it will reduce the prices of acquiring a vehicle in the US. I wonder how many less vehicles would of been sold in the US without China and Mexico having such a large influence on manufacturing.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Yeah, there is plenty of evidence to support both the Unions getting their goals and for them to move and NOT move production to Mexico. There are complicated issues at hand that are more than just raising wages.

            The bigger thing really at play is how EXCITED these people are that people will make LESS money and corporations will make MORE at the expense of those people. They would rather have their worst ideas proven right than actually make more money….It’s bizzaro land.

  • avatar
    jrmason

    Sad part is, most of these people are unskilled outside of an automotive factory and would struggle to find a job with a benefit package anything close to what they’re getting now.

    Don’t like your wages? Go learn a skilled trade. Until then be happy with what you’ve got.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      Not a popular response, but one I agree with. These jobs, while physically demanding, are not hard to replicate, and the talent pool is very big. I understand FCA makes big bucks and you want a cut, but when you are easily replaceable… Hard to make that demand IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      jeoff

      Skilled trades aren’t that much of a guarantee anymore either. If it is a high paying job (skilled or not), someone is working to move it overseas, import cheaper labor, or automate it.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Skilled trades, I.E. welding/fabrication, carpentry, plumbing, etc. There will always be a demand for skilled tradesman. Coming from an ASME boiler makers shop, I can tell you there are many jobs that can’t be replaced with cheap labor.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      So, lets presume they go learn a skill.

      Now the skills are bloated with more workers than are needed and wages depress.

      Now some of those people go to a 4-year college and get a degree. Now those positions are bloated and wages go down.

      So some of those go and get Master’s Degrees. Now those positions are bloated and wages go down.

      Now more people get PhDs but because there is only a limited market in PhDs and little benefit to get them outside of educating others, doing research, or being a physician the fields become IMMENSELY bloated and most go without jobs.

      Your presumption of education will resolve every issue ignores the natural fixed job distribution that can change to some extent but low-no/semi-skilled jobs are simply going to be the bulk of any workforce. How many times are you and the like going to keep putting this argument forward when other countries with high unionization (especially places like Japan) don’t face our problems and we seem to be the idiotic outlier because our capitalist got strong before organized labor could get strong enough to fight back.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What is the future with all of these educated and uneducated/lower skilled people being unable to find work, or if they can, full time work?

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        It’ll never happen, this is ‘Merica, Land of the Free and Home of the entitled. The opportunities are there in nearly every trade. We can’t find enough SKILLED people so we work our guys 60+ hours a week to make ends meet. I know alot of guys in other fields and they all have the same problem. The medical field is another perfect example. We’ve got a huge deficit of Drs and high level nurses. My wife is a CM for a national health care company. When she got hired in, she told them what it would take to leave her old job. They never even batted an eye at a figure she thought they would balk at (she wasnt looking for a job to begin with). She gets job offers on nearly a weekly basis all over the country. Not enough people want to invest the time in themselves to better their future and its only getting worse. Unions aren’t the answer contrary to what you would like to believe. Regardless of the career path one chooses, the educated and motivated will always find a way to succeed.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “Regardless of the career path one chooses, the educated and motivated will always find a way to succeed.”

          OH, I LOVE IT!!!

          Exactly MY sentiment as well! Been there, done that!

          Millions of jobs unfilled in America. America has to import people from other countries to fill them and do the work. More than 57 million eligible American workers in America unemployed.

          And the UAW thinks that they are something special.

          I hope the UAW strike Fiatsler. Let’s get this UAW-threat thing resolved once and for all.

          No doubt O and NLRB will intercede on the UAW’s behalf and hammer Fiatsler like the US govt is hammering Toyota for ISIL choosing to drive Toyota vehicles instead of Ford and GM vehicles…….

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        So your argument is that you can’t find enough skilled labor? Congrats, the macro-level data suggest otherwise. In fact a great white paper written a year ago (jan 2014) shows just why this argument is both flawed and your particular case is a rarity within the system.

        Aggregate demand is down, no amount of retraining will change that.

        http://www.epi.org/publication/shortage-skilled-workers/

  • avatar
    RHD

    Viva la huelga!

    If FCA offers a reasonable contract, it will be accepted. It’s a tug of war, and usually works out fine for everyone in the end. Automatically demonizing the workers is just silly.
    Often the garbage and takeaways put in initial contract proposals are blatantly outrageous. I’ve been there several times – it’s a predictable process, and the consultants that the companies use make a killing.

    • 0 avatar
      Altair7

      Based on an overwhelming amount of prior evidence, it’s safe to say that the UAW defines ‘reasonable’ quite differently than most rational beings would.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Citations required. Some of you howl at 2 tiers systems and blame the UAW for accepting it…others see it as an acceptable alternative. I’m pretty sure you can’t define a single word you’re saying with actual empirical evidence.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          Xeranar, this isn’t wiki, this is a discussion. If you absolutely must have facts, start googling. Nobody here has to prove any statement, because nobody it trying to convince you, particularly, and nobody cares whether you believe them or not. It’s a discussion, i.e., opinion, so please dispense with the (citation needed).

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Actually citation needed is a completely valid attack on a person’s position (opinions have no objective position). If they fail to meet basic empirical evidence requirements for their assertions then *le gasp!* they’re wrong and can be ignored.

            It wasn’t as if I just went down the line claiming it, I actually pointed out how broken these kinds of statements are and insinuated that the makers of such are weaker because of it. If you dislike my discussion tactic, chalk it up to the desire to see my position be wrong.

            But hey, that’s half the fun of arguing in a bubble with the same people every time a story comes up. The B&B come out, declare unions dead and excitedly stroke their non-existent corporate stock as if they’re actually CEOs.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            [Citation needed] is a shorthand way of reminding everyone that the burden of proof lies on them to back up any claims with evidence, not with anyone else to disprove.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Look speaking as someone who does cite things from the interwebs, I rarely see you cite anything Xer. Just above where you explain how people just cannot “get educated” due to labor supply I do not see a citation (even if you are correct). I just don’t quite understand why you want people to play term paper with their opinions and yet you don’t inject some kind of information to counter their claim if happens to be opposite to yours.

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            If you’re trying to call the kettle black, be my guest. I don’t cite many things because I don’t want to bother with rehosting JSTOR or Lexisnexis work or try to scan in my journals. The internet is amazing but it’s not everything. But I just so happened to have a great link that blew up the ‘education makes everything better’ argument. Truthfully, I could bother with more but most of you just disagree with me out of hand so why bother most of the time?

            http://www.epi.org/publication/shortage-skilled-workers/

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You can’t please all of the people all of the time and you certainly can’t cure ignorance. However countering supposition with assertions backed by nothing is just as bad. Better to end a discussion with references backing up why you’re right, not caring if the material is read, than to just say I’m right because I say I am. If a student challenged your argument would you simply ridicule them or would you explain why they are incorrect with material/references/journals so they understand why they were wrong?

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            In most cases I can logically argue the point to sufficiency. I rarely will dig out journals but if a student has me stumped I’ll generally research and come back with the answer and a citation if I’m really unsure.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I invite you to treat posters as students. You have a great deal of knowledge on this subject and its a shame not to share some of it in a constructive manner. If people still act like jag offs than f*** them.

  • avatar
    matador

    Big deal. Sergio just needs to hug the UAW.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Just start moving production elsewhere.

    I do hope Sergio gets his way on this.

    I do believe if unions want more input into the business they are involved wth, then they should also be financially liable for any poor decisions that affects the bottom line.

    So, when a company goes under the unions will need to cough up some cash to help the company.

    You can’t have input without accepting accountability for your actions.

    This is one area unions need to learn.

    Just wanting and wanting and expecting other to pick up the pieces you leave behind is quite immature, like a child playing with toys.

    Maybe it’s about time for the union movement to mature and grow up.

    There are many people with wants, like unions want. But sooner or later as you grow up you realise all isn’t going to go your way.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      “Just start moving production elsewhere.”

      He can’t move production elsewhere right now. That may be the ultimate goal, but when it comes to RAM and Jeep, the UAW has leverage right now. RAM and Jeep are keeping the company profitable. They are funding everything Sergio wants to do. FCA doesn’t have capacity to build those products else where. It would also take capital expenditures that Sergio doesn’t want to make. This is the last UAW contract that the UAW can eliminate tiers and get things that it wants.

      “So, when a company goes under the unions will need to cough up some cash to help the company.”

      They’ve done this with the tier 2 wages, VEBA, etc.

      “Maybe it’s about time for the union movement to mature and grow up.”

      Asking for a single tier wages and better work rules is a mature thing to do.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        bball,
        You tend to use “overstatements” quite often.

        Where did I state a move as large as moving massive production facilities wil occur “overnight”.

        You must give more credit to the commenters than you do.

        As for the wages. Let the worker have input, without the union. This is called enterprise agreements.

        The UAW is in a monopolised position. Imagine if you are told you can only use a particular attorney or lawyer to represent you. Would you agree? I doubt it.

        So, why are workers subjected to this form of treatment.

        Why not dissolve all unions and set up a capitalistic approach and have a person hire a representative and pay them money to gain advancement within an industry?

        It would probably be cheaper than paying union dues/taxes and the results would be more beneficial for the worker and business.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Your first suggestion was for FCA to, “Just start moving production elsewhere.” The problem is that they cannot. The also can’t afford downtime of RAM or Jeep production. There is little to no slack in the system.

          If you suggestion meant that FCA should plan on moving Jeep and RAM production to Asia or Mexico down the line, the UAW is already hip to that being an option and they want to get what they can now.

          In Michigan, where many of FCAs UAW plants are located, you won’t have to be in the UAW once this contract is ratified. It’s a right to work state now.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            bball,
            Again, I was not stating what you are alluding to.

            If you do have knowledge of FCA you will also know that Sergio is quite open to production in any of his global plants, even Italy.

            I do believe Jeep will eventually be made in China for the global markets. That’s what where I’ll place my money.

            As for the “closed and protected” US market we will wait and see.

            Don’t forget there are many trade deals going on at the moment.

            Things and decisions can change overnight.

            If a vehicle is highly profitable to manufacture in the US, it highly probable it is even more profitable in another nation.

            I’m not suggesting that the FCA plants will close down really fast, but I would expect to see changes in FCA’s manufacturing plants and locations over time……if they have the money to invest, or some government entices them with tax payer handouts.

            As for the UAW. Here in Australia we have laws that prevent the unions from having closed shops.

            But, try and work on any building site in Australia.

            The unions are like criminals. We have laws to protect us from crime, but it occurs, even overtly, like the unionised building sites, wharfs, etc in Australia.

            But the reality it exists.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They’ll probably eventually move production elsewhere, but that has nothing to do with these negotiations. If Segio really wants to send Wrangler production to China, he’ll do it. The UAW dangling Tier 5 wages to stop the move wouldn’t matter.

            The idea of FCA slowly gradually moving production overseas will also make the UAW members demand more from their leadership and FCA. Gotta get the money while they can.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            bball,
            WFT??? Man are you okay, really.

            You create a divergence in my statement, then turn the discussion around to what limited knowledge you have and make the comments you had.

            I really do think you should go back to the top of this thread and re-read and disgest what was written by myself.

            Boy, you might need an asprin or something.

            My comment was regarding the possibility of FCA moving production. Not when and how, ie, overnight in which you inferred. The first incorrect interpretation of my comment, out in the left field.

            My second comment is in relation to unions and limited freedom workers have when unions are involved in negotiations.

            My comment stated to have an independent negotiator, not a union who first and foremost priority is to protect the union/socialist institution, then the chain of command and lastly the rank and file.

            Try and comprehend instead of side tracking. You are so much like DenverMike in your approach. Limited knowledge and/or the blind fanboy and nationalistic views which doesn’t allow to be progressive and allow free and abstract thoughts.

            You are a follower and not a leader, I can tell by your scribes.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’m not side tracking at all Al. I have no dog in this fight. The FCA-UAW deal doesn’t effect me directly.

            I would disagree about your follower vs leader comment. As someone who has 70 employees, has run successful businesses, and was an Army Ranger (Rangers lead the way), I have been a leader my entire adult life.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Why you bother, I don’t know.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Pch-

            That’s a very good question.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Actually, FCA now builds the 500X and Renegade in Serbia and the Malfi plant in Italy.. They wanted to also build those models in the Mirafiori plant in Turin, but ran into labor problems.

            There’s potential capacity in Serbia and in Brazil for the single replacement for the Compass and Patriot, leaving their largest plant in Belvidere, IL making only the Dart (which is getting close to the end of its current cycle, and could be replaced with a rebadged Fiat compact from Brazil), and their second largest plant, Sterling Heights, makes only the Chrysler 200.

            Their 4th largest plant, Jefferson North, makes only the Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango (soon to be dropped), and the GC is the same platform as the 300, Charger and Challenger, made in Brampton Ontario. Their 3rd largest assembly plant in Windsor Ontario is being revamped for the new minivans, and will have five assembly lines, with maybe one line reserved for the next generation 200.

            In short, there’s plenty of room for closure of at least two American plants, probably three, with replacement models coming from foreign plants. It won’t happen overnight, but as bball said, they can “start” planning for it and bring up that possibility during negotiations.

            American buyers already don’t care that the Jeep Renegade is Serbian/Italian, and won’t care if the 200 and Grand Cherokee are Canadian like the 300, Charger and Challenger, and won’t even care if the Dart is Brazilian. But UAW workers WILL care that of FCA’s four US assembly plants, the three biggest can be closed.

  • avatar

    from my friend Gregg Shotwell.

    VW LIES, GM lies, Toyota lies, Ford fibs, Nixon was not a crook, Clinton didn’t have sex, but the UAW doesn’t prevaricate. No, the UAW simply has a “typo”.

    In 2011 the contract information “Highlights,” which the UAW uses to inform members, promised to restore a twenty-five percent cap on the number of two-tier workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). That promise led workers to believe that many of them (roughly half of all present second tier workers at FCA) would gain top-tier wages in 2015.

    The promised cap also meant that more second tier workers would grow into the top-tier as new workers were hired. But UAW-Vice President Norwood Jewell insists the real contract never included a promise to cap two-tier, and thus, promote a path to equality and solidarity.

    The real contract? The bullshitter didn’t blink when he revealed publicly that what he tells members at a contract information meeting, and literature the UAW distributes to sell members a contract, is worth less than a pimp’s promise.

    “The 25 percent cap will be reinstated at the end of this contract,” said a front-page letter in the 2011 contract “Highlights” from then UAW President Bob King and UAW-VP General Holiefield. “All workers in excess of the 25 percent cap will be [sic] begin receiving the same wages as traditional Chrysler workers.”

    Well, there was a typo, and hence the [sic], but the fact of the matter is that Jewell publicly admitted that the UAW couldn’t be trusted at the same time he was hustling to sell a deal that proposes to move work to Mexico, does not secure production jobs in UAW plants, and blows perfidious smoke about a health care co-op which is sure to eat up raises with high deductibles, co-pays, and budget busting premiums.

    This tentative UAW contract, which members soundly voted down, multiplies tier-wage divisions and forever decimates solidarity. Instead of cost-of-living-adjustments, which compound and accrue, workers’ fortunes are tied to the tail of the profit sharing kite, a delight as predictable as the wind in Michigan.

    The “Highlights” are so bad that dissidents don’t even feel compelled to write the “Lowlights.” The flaws are brass band blatant. Where will it end?

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    RETIREES LIVE on fixed incomes, but the pensions of top-tier workers at FCA were fixed in 2009 before they even got to retire. Second tier workers, unable to compensate on cut-rate wages for the abandonment of pensions, are fixing to work till they die, or limp away on SSDI–government funded disability income.

    The policy of dumping injured workers onto government rolls amounts to socialism for corporations and broken dreams for Americans.

    In 2011 Sean McAlinden from the Center for Automotive Research [CAR] said “job promises in the new contracts were largely misread by the 113,000 UAW workers covered by the agreements.” In 2015 there are no job promises to read. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is still shuffling the deck with the calm confidence of a dealer with four aces in his sleeve.

    Union officials like to use the small pie analogy as they dish out excuses, but workers can see the optical illusion for what it is: a fat lie. McAlinden told attendees at a CAR conference this past June that labor costs at the Detroit Three are “less important than in the past.”

    Labor costs at FCA have been reduced $2396 per vehicle since 2007. Where’s that slice going?

    “In the U.S. auto industry, real wages have declined 24 percent since 2003,” according to CAR. Marchionne took home $1.4 million a week in 2014 and that doesn’t include his expense account. You can bet he doesn’t even pay for cigarettes.

    Back in 2011 CAR admitted that “white-collar labor costs in the United States will exceed their blue-collar labor costs.” The gap is expanding and workers bear the brunt of the load.

    Speed-up, reduced break time, no sick days, and alternative work schedules that eliminate over time pay exacerbate stress. Corporations treat workers like robots–except humans don’t get fixed when they break. They get scrapped and replaced.

    Last year at the UAW Constitutional Convention, the Administrative Caucus raised dues purportedly to shore up the strike fund. Dave Barkholz at the Automotive News reported, “A UAW strike of Fiat Chrysler could cost the Detroit automaker close to $1 billion a week in lost revenue and would quickly lead to a shortage of several hot-selling vehicles.”

    But UAW President Dennis Williams is backpedaling on strike talk. Insular bureaucrats float so high above life on the shop floor, they don’t have a clue how whipped up workers are.

    Life in the auto factories is harder and meaner and uglier than ever. Linda Heberlie, who works at the FCA plant in Belvidere, Illinois told me. “I get up at 5:38 a.m. and go to hell.”

    I cannot attest that this resistance at FCA is organized, but it has reached a fever pitch. UAW members are exclaiming to union leaders, corporate heads and politicians what workers everywhere want to yell to the bosses of the world. “Go to hell!”

    • 0 avatar
      Jpeak

      Welcome to the real world of corporate America 2015. What makes the UAW workers more special than the rest of the US hourly workforce? $25.00/hr plus subsidized medical benefits and a small 401K match is what most of the factory workers strive for with more independent responsibility and authority than most automotive workers have. The UAW workers might as well be professional athletes complaining about not getting their share of the pie when it comes to the rest of the workers in th US. You have it better than most in places that the cost of living is lower than most. Quit complaining. Quit whining. Get the best deal you can but don’t bore the rest of the world with how bad you have it.

  • avatar

    Tier One for Everyone or walk. Solidarity is more than just a song!

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    In the 1960s, when GM was THE corporation (think Apple & Toyota put together), I think the CEO made 10-12x what a worker made.

    Maybe the UAW rank and file might “appreciate what they have” more if Sergio didn’t make so much.

    How much does Mr. Toyoda make a year? $2-3 million? Sergio? $50-100 million.

    Toyota’s cash position is over $80 billion. Chrysler’s is -8 billion.

    It’s Chrysler mgt that is grossly overpaid.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Just like baseball has a “wins above replacement” stat, I suggest a “profits above replacement” stat for executives. If Sergio doesn’t deliver proportionately higher profits than a replacement CEO working for half as much, then replace him.

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