UAW, Fiat Chrysler reach tentative labor pact

Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:08pm EDT
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By Bernie Woodall and Joseph White

DETROIT (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCHA.MI: Quote) (FCAU.N: Quote) and the United Auto Workers union reached a tentative agreement for a new labor contract for the company's 40,000 unionized workers in the United States, the union and the company said Tuesday evening.

UAW President Dennis Williams and FCA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne scheduled a press conference in Detroit at 7:15 p.m. EDT (2315 GMT) to discuss the agreement. The two sides released no details.

The deal will now go to FCA unionized workers for ratification.

“Expectations are very high for raises for everyone," Kristin Dziczek, labor analyst with the Center for Automotive Research, said Tuesday before the agreement was announced.

Veteran UAW workers, who make about $28 per hour, have not had a wage hike in a decade. More recently hired factory workers earn so-called second-tier wages that topped out at $19.28 in the old contract. Those workers have pushed UAW leaders to narrow that gap or set a clear path to eliminating it.

At FCA, about 45 percent of the hourly UAW workers earn lower-tier wages.

The surge in profits for the once-struggling Detroit automakers, FCA, Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) and General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) has also fed pressure from rank-and-file UAW members for substantial raises.

FCA’s North American operating profit in the second quarter reported on July 30 was $1.35 billion, up 37 percent from the previous year.   Continued...

UAW President Dennis Williams addresses their Special Bargaining Convention held at COBO Hall in Detroit, Michigan in this file photo from March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Jeff Kowalsky/Files