Local presidents and top bargainers from Fiat Chrysler UAW locals will gather Thursday in suburban Detroit to lay out what comes next after UAW members rejected a national tentative agreement reached Sept. 15 between the union and FCA.
On Tuesday, two large assembly plant locals -- Local 12 in Toledo, Ohio and Local 1700 in Sterling Heights, Mich. -- overwhelmingly rejected the agreement, dooming its remaining chances of passage.
At Local 12, which represents about 5,000 workers at the Toledo Assembly Complex, 87 percent of production workers and 80 percent of skilled trades workers voted no, a source told the Detroit Free Press.
At UAW Local 1700, representing about 3,000 workers in Sterling Heights, Mich., 72 percent of production workers and 65 percent of skilled trades workers voted against the contract, the Free Press reported.
Voting results from a few other large locals remain, but the UAW would have to win near unanimous results from those locals to affect the outcome.
FCA’s unionized workers have expressed their displeasure with several aspects of the proposed contract they rejected. Among their chief concerns: the inability for Tier 2 workers to ever attain wage parity with Tier 1 workers, the lack of a product plan and a failure to change a much-hated alternative work schedule that has some workers switching between day and night shifts.
Under the rejected agreement, the gap between the highest-paid Fiat Chrysler first-tier plant worker and the lowest-paid second-tier would have closed from $12 per hour to $8 per hour.
At the Thursday meeting, UAW leaders are expected to send bargainers back to the table to try and amend the rejected agreement into something more palatable to their members at FCA. They will also likely discuss a plan to potentially strike part or all of FCA’s US operations to try and gain bargaining leverage.
FCA has the lowest per-hour labor costs among the Detroit 3, because it has the highest share of the lower paid second-tier workers. About 45 percent of FCA workers are second tier, compared with 28 percent at Ford Co. and 20 percent at General Motors. FCA is also the smallest and least profitable of the three Detroit automakers.