By on October 7, 2016

2017 Chrysler Pacificas

Canada, as the New York Times helpfully points out, actually celebrates Thanksgiving (!), but bargaining teams from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and autoworkers union Unifor won’t get to enjoy it.

The two groups are expected to bargain down to the last minute as contract talks approach Monday night’s strike deadline, the Windsor Star reports. Unlike recent bargaining between Unifor and General Motors, the FCA negotiations have been whisper quiet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t action happening behind the scenes.

Unifor Local 444 president and bargaining team head Dino Chiodo tells the Star that negotiations will likely “go down to the wire,” adding, “Nobody is going home for Thanksgiving.”

Reportedly, a key request in this round of contract talks has gone unanswered by FCA. Unifor, which represents Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, wants automakers to commit to plant investments. The union local wants investments in FCA’s Brampton assembly plant and Etobicoke casting facility, but so far, FCA hasn’t budged.

The GM-Unifor deal has led to strife within the union, and FCA isn’t happy about it either. Under pattern bargaining, the first deal struck with an automaker guides the bargaining that follows. Unifor secured pay raises for new hires from GM, while sticking to its 10-year pay grid. That differs from the previous contract, which saw entry-level pay frozen at the same rate for the first three years.

If FCA agrees to that model, costs will rise at its Windsor assembly plant. The facility recently hired 1,200 workers to produce the Pacifica minivan.

Meanwhile, a union local representing Ford workers at the Oakville assembly plant slammed the GM deal, claiming it doesn’t like the 10-year pay grid. Dave Thomas, president of Unifor’s Local 707, says he wouldn’t have approved the agreement. (Ford is last in line in this round of contract negotiations.)

Those comments got under Chiodo’s skin, as the bargaining head calls the GM deal one of the “best economic deals in a decade.” The Ford unions negotiated the pay grid in 2012.

“When they led pattern, they established it and they got a big investment that hired 2,200 employees,” Chiodo told the Star. “So, it’s easy to poke criticism when they are at the receiving end of an investment.”

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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12 Comments on “No Turkey for Fiat Chrysler, Unifor as Monday Strike Deadline Looms...”

  • avatar

    Um, the operative words are UNION and COLLECTIVE. UNIFOR represents them all so why would one local expect different treatment than another local?

    I’m sure they would fare so much better in a “right to work” state.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s easy. Each “local” represents an entire company, and there are only three companies in the industry. The union chiefs can take the world view, but the locals exist only in their little corner of the world, operating within their company’s corporate culture. On their own, the locals can be their own worst enemy.

      The Union isn’t so much a single union as a federation of unions. The relationships among them is political/parliamentary, with a lot of messy internal squabbling. That’s why union negotiators try to impose a “cone of silence” on negotiations, or the company involved can get the upper hand by playing off the squabblers.

      This is how ALL collective unions work/don’t work, from the UAW, to Steelworkers, Aerospace, or any large union dealing with a few large corporations in a capital-intensive industry where it’s difficult for new competitors to get in. As bad as it looks, those unions are much stronger than unions in weak industries where it’s easier for a new player to get in, and there aren’t big corporations to set the standard.

    • 0 avatar
      onion head

      Bet the new hires are saying the same thing…hypocrite.

  • avatar

    Don’t bite the hand that feeds you folks. You will accomplish more 99% of the time staying on the job, using your sick time, slowing down the line, leaving a loose nut or two in the bottom of the door……

    • 0 avatar

      No such thing as ” sick time” , unless you want to eat 8 hours pay. ” Slowing the line down” …depending on your disciplinary record , “restricting out put” will buy you at least a 30 day suspension, more than likely dismissal . Failure to complete your job assignment ? Depending on the severity , and the intention. Discipline would start at 3 days, and with “progressive discipline “could escalate to 30 days , and.possible dismissal .

      Now, if the Union promotes, or sanctions such Job action, that can lead to law suits ,court orders, and restitution, against the union, and or the leaders.

      That was the way the game was played 10 years ago, when the Union was in far stronger position . Me thinks , that in 2016 the penalties would far more severe .

      • 0 avatar
        onion head

        Must be a minion. WORK TO RULE works and can’t be disciplined. You are just removing all the little things extra that you do that technically are not part of your job assignment. This means getting the boot lickers on board.

        • 0 avatar

          “Must be a minion”? Mikey is a rare and very valuable voice on this board, someone with decades of real experience in the plant.

          I spent my corporate career in management, but I respect Mikey’s honest reports on the reality of life on the line much more than I do the right-wing polemics of many others who comment here.

          • 0 avatar

            “work to rule” looks like onion head has a vague understanding of what that is. Yes, it entails doing just your job but in the context of an industrial assembly line it is extremely well defined. That has been an industry complaint even before job action starts. They claim inflexibility from the workers due to the narrow focus of contract language. That same narrow focus is a pain to employers wanting flexibility but it is a huge benefit when it comes to worker conduct.

            In other unionized settings “work to rule” can be an extremely powerful tool. Hospitals are a prime example. Nursing staff perform a huge array of functions that aren’t in their job description. That would be things like clerical work, housekeeping, and food delivery. “Work to rule” is more effective than striking in that sort of setting.

          • 0 avatar
            onion head

            Lou_BC. Nothing “vague” about my understanding.Been in it for 30 years.You’re right the current “work assignments” are clearly defined and have very little leeway.But there are countless areas where there are people going beyond that to keep the line moving.And countless creative ways to slow it down.You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t need the union to promote anything. The employee’s can do it for themselves. If they’re going on strike they have nothing to lose.

    • 0 avatar

      “leaving a loose nut or two in the bottom of the door……”

      That didn’t work out too well for the Republicans and Democrats.

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