By on October 8, 2015

UAW Bridging the Gap Banner Circa March 2015

On Wednesday night, as the deadline for strike action came closer and closer, the United Auto Workers-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles National Bargaining Committee announced they had “secured significant gains” over the last proposed tentative agreement that was widely rejected by UAW membership.

Details on the new agreement were not published.

The new proposed agreement averts a strike — for now — and will be sent Friday to local union leaders that comprise the UAW National Chrysler Council for discussion and voting.

“We heard from our members, and went back to FCA to strengthen their contract,” said UAW President Dennis Williams early Thursday morning in a statement. “We’ve reached a proposed Tentative Agreement that I believe addresses our members’ principal concerns about their jobs and their futures. We have made real gains and I look forward to a full discussion of the terms with our membership.”

FCA acknowledged they reached a new proposed tentative agreement with the union, but declined to give specifics due to the pending vote by UAW members.

This is the second tentative agreement to come from UAW and FCA in this year’s negotiations after the first tentative agreement was rejected by UAW membership. Workers cited their displeasure with the agreement’s failure to eliminate the two-tier pay system, a relic of the last collective agreement that helped prop up Chrysler and GM post-bankruptcy.

The two-tier pay system goes against one of the union’s core values of equal pay for equal work.

Workers also cited issues with “alternative work schedules” that would have seen them on four, 10-hour shifts instead of five, 8-hour shifts and switching between late night and early morning shifts within days. There were also no production promises in the last proposal, a detail that’s usually used as a sweetener for workers to accept the agreement by showing them long-term commitments to specific products.

If a proposed tentative agreement was not found Wednesday night and workers hit the picket lines, they would be entitled to $200/week in strike pay — but only once the strike entered its third week. The action could have cost the automaker $1 billion per week.

A ratified agreement will spell out the terms of employment for some 40,000 unionized FCA workers in the United States for the next four years.

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