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UAW, Fiat-Chrysler reach tentative deal

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and UAW President Dennis Williams

After several days of marathon bargaining, UAW and Fiat-Chrysler leaders announced a tentative new contract for workersTuesday night.

They weren’t willing to make many details public, however.

UAW President Dennis Williams said that’s because union members deserve to see the new deal first.

“The ultimate decision, and the power of the union, is our members,” Williams said. “And they will make the final decision.”

But Williams and Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne hinted at some of its contents.

They said it tackles growing health care costs, possibly involving some version of a co-op between active UAW employees at all three Detroit automakers. That’s an idea Williams had floated publicly.

Marchionne also hinted at plans to get rid of the controversial “two-tier” wage structure that pays newer workers less money, though the timeline for that is unclear.

Williams called the agreement “balanced,” and said it lays the groundwork for ongoing contract talks with larger, more profitable rivals GM and Ford — but only to a point.

“This is a deal that we can very well pattern,” Williams said. “But pattern is unique to each company.”

Union leaders need to sell Fiat-Chrysler UAW locals nationwide on the deal’s terms first.  

A ratification vote should take place within the next two weeks.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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