Marchionne will miss Frankfurt show to handle UAW talks

GM, Ford contracts extended

Sergio Marchionne's Fiat Chrysler was picked as the pattern company for the UAW contract talks.

UPDATED: 9/14/15 9:38 pm ET - adds GM extension

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has cancelled his appearance at the Frankfurt auto show this week after the automaker was picked as the target company in labor talks in the U.S., a company spokesman said today.

FCA will get the first shot at setting a pattern for wages and benefits for more than 140,000 unionized factory workers at the Detroit 3 automakers, the company and the UAW said Sunday.

The UAW's contracts with Ford Motor Co. and General Motors were extended today.

Marchionne was originally scheduled to meet with the press at the Frankfurt show on Tuesday.

In an update to members today, Norwood Jewell, vice president of the UAW’s Chrysler department, said that though the company and union “have been meeting for months now, there are still many items of importance to be reconciled.”

Jewell noted in his update that a majority of locals have already reached tentative agreements with FCA bargaining teams on local issues, though “we still have some locals that are having challenges reaching an agreement.”

Jewell struck an optimistic tone, even as he called for solidarity ahead of tonight’s midnight contract expiration. “Now more than ever, this is the time to stand together and display our solidarity. Upon us reaching a tentative national agreement, we will be in communication with you as to what our next steps will be. Hopefully, it will be to advise you when and where our informational meeting will be held.”

Meanwhile, Ford and GM workers will be waiting for the FCA talks to conclude.

"We will continue working with our UAW partners on issues we can resolve before they turn their focus to GM," a GM statement said.

Cindy Estrada, the UAW's vice president overseeing the GM department, said in a Facebook posting late Monday that the union and company signed a memorandum of understanding to extend the current contract.

"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you and our members at General Motors facilities everywhere for the solidarity and patience you have shown us as we work our way through these difficult talks," Estrada wrote in the posting.

Earlier Monday, Jimmy Settles, the UAW's Ford vice president, said in a message to Ford workers:

"As the UAW and FCA enter more targeted discussions, I have full faith and confidence that UAW President Dennis Williams and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Vice President Norwood Jewell will set the tone and negotiate an agreement that meets the needs and demands of the entire UAW-FCA membership."

Reuters and Automotive News staff contributed to this report.

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