UAW workers ratify new contract with Fiat Chrysler

Keywords Automakers / Chrysler / Labor / UAW / Unions

Unionized workers at Fiat Chrysler have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four-year contract with the company.

The ratification means the United Auto Workers union has settled with all three Detroit automakers. General Motors workers ratified an agreement in October after a 40-day strike, while Ford Workers settled in November.

About 71% of Fiat Chrysler workers voted in favor of the deal, the UAW said Wednesday. The union has about 47,000 members at Fiat Chrysler.

Fiat Chrysler has a workforce of 8,156 in Indiana at four plants in Kokomo and one plant in Tipton, consisting of 7,199 hourly and 957 salaried employees.

The deal includes a $9,000 bonus per worker upon ratification. The company also has promised $4.5 billion worth of new investments in U.S. factories.

The union reached a tentative agreement with Fiat Chrysler on Nov. 30. The new contract also offers a mix of lump sums and pay raises for longtime workers, full top wages for new hires within four years and a path for temporary employees to become full-time after three years of work.

The Fiat Chrysler contract also adds 12.5% to the union workers’ profit-sharing formula, giving them $900 per 1% of profit margin generated North American. That’s up from $800, and a $12,000 cap was lifted. The UAW says the deal creates more than 7,900 jobs, including another $4.5 billion investment previously announced at two factories in Detroit.

In a summary of the contract, the union said FCA agreed to extend a moratorium on outsourcing of jobs and will maintain its U.S. manufacturing presence through the life of the contract.

Also included is an agreement to build fresh models off the Jeep Cherokee SUV underpinnings and invest $55 million into the Belvidere, Illinois, assembly plant, where the Cherokee is built.

At the Toledo, Ohio, North Assembly plant, which builds the Jeep Wrangler SUV, the company will invest $160 million and hire 100 more people to build a plug-in hybrid version of the Wrangler. The Toledo South plant gets $120 million to keep building the Jeep Gladiator pickup.

At an assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, Fiat Chrysler will invest $210 million to keep building light-duty Ram pickup and new high-performance version of the truck.

Another truck plant in Warren, Michigan, will get $2.8 billion including engineering and development expenses to keep building the Ram pickup and a new three-row SUV called the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. A plug-in hybrid version of the SUV is coming in 2021.

The ratification comes as the International UAW is being rocked by a bribery and embezzlement scandal that began at the jointly run Fiat Chrysler-UAW training center. Two former vice presidents who negotiated with FCA are alleged by federal officials to have taken bribes to influence contract negotiations.

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