Ford union workers approve contract; Fiat Chrysler talks are next | Michigan Radio

Ford union workers approve contract; Fiat Chrysler talks are next

Nov 16, 2019

UAW President Gary Jones at a 2018 union event. Jones is on paid leave as an FBI investigation into corruption in the union widens.
Credit United Auto Workers

Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers have a new, four-year contract with 56.3% of the vote.

Kristin Dziczek is an analyst with the Center for Automotive Research.

Dziczek says the deal is similar to the one the union reached with General Motors, with a few differences, like, the signing bonus.

"It's $9,000 at Ford and it was $11,000 at GM," says Dziczek, "but then of course GM workers were out on strike for 40 days."

She says there were some improvements to health insurance in the Ford contract that were not in the GM contract.

The Ford deal also sets a cap on the number of temporary workers the company can employ. 

“Every Ford employee and temporary employee will be at the top-rate for full-time status at the end of this four-year agreement,” said Acting UAW President Rory Gamble, who directs the UAW Ford Department. “This is a life-changing contract for many and provides a template for all future Ford UAW members to a full-time, top-rate status. There will be no more permanent temporary situations and no more permanent tiers.”

That could be a sticking point when the union sits down at the bargaining table with Fiat Chrysler.

Fiat Chrysler has more temporary workers than Ford does.

"Mike Manley, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler, on a financial call a week or so ago, said they had close to 13 percent of their workforce as temporaries.  So a cap company wide at 8% would require them to make some big changes."

Dziczek says a strike at Fiat Chrysler "isn't off the table."