By on December 12, 2019


The latest round of Detroit Three labor wrangling has wrapped out without a second strike. In side-stepping the same walkout that plagued General Motors earlier this year, Fiat Chrysler has made itself all the more attractive to its corporate fiancé, Groupe PSA.

Late Wednesday, FCA announced its workers had voted to approve the tentative four-year labor agreement reached between it and the United Auto Workers.

Compared to the GM and Ford tally, a greater measure — 71 percent — of FCA workers voted in favor of the deal.

One wonders what the pushback might have been had FCA not been pursuing a merger with a french auto giant, or if the backdrop of scandal and corruption stemming from the ongoing federal investigation (including a racketeering lawsuit filed by GM) hadn’t existed.

It can be argued that, under these circumstances, FCA would have been more eager to secure a deal at all costs, even if it meant significantly boosting labor expenditures. Greater use of temporary workers compared to other members of the Detroit Three has given the automaker a fiscal advantage in years past. Now, the gap has narrowed.

In its lawsuit, GM alleges FCA brass bribed UAW officials to go easy on it during the 2015 bargaining process.

“Working with the UAW, we are pleased to have reached a new agreement that allows us to continue our record of adding good-paying UAW-represented jobs, building strong families, investing in our communities and offering exceptional vehicles to our customers,” said FCA’s North American chief operating Officer, Mark Stewart, in a statement.

Fiat Chrysler aims to invest $9 billion in its domestic operations over the life of the contract, with 7,900 jobs either created or “secured.” With GM setting the standard for this round of bargaining, FCA fell in line re: pay and benefits.

“Every full-time production employee currently at FCA will be at top rate by the end of this four-year agreement,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who heads the union’s FCA department. “All temporary workers now have a defined pathway to full time and top pay as well.”

In addition to these things, the agreement adds coverage for prescription drug costs for temporary workers, equal health care for full-time workers, $9,000 signing bonuses for full-time members, two 3-percent raises, and two 4-percent lump sum payments.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler]

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