- Thomson Reuters
The United Auto Workers has notified Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV of its intention to have workers walk off the job as early as late Wednesday night, the company said on Tuesday.
“FCA US confirms that it has received strike notification from the UAW. The Company continues to work with the UAW in a constructive manner to reach a new agreement,” Fiat Chrysler said in a statement.
A notice to Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. vice president for employee relations, Glenn Shagena, by the UAW’s lead Fiat Chrysler negotiator, Norwood Jewell, said the current four-year contract extension would be expire at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.
UAW leadership had hammered out a provisional contract with FCA and sent it to the unions members for a vote. Last week, the membership voted not to approve the contract, which was expected to serve as a template for contracts with GM and Ford workers.
A key sticking point is the so-called “two tiered” wage structure. New hires are paid at the Tier 2 level, significantly below the Tier 1 wage. The UAW wants to eliminate this. In the proposed FCA contract, CEO Sergio Marchionne and UAW negotiators had developed a roadmap for Tier 2 workers to be paid more.
However, FCA has hired more Tier 2 workers since the financial crisis, bailout, and bankruptcy than any other Detroit automaker. Losing the dual-wage structure could affect the car maker’s business in negative ways.
A strike at FCA is the last thing Marchionne needs right now. He’s preparing an IPO of Ferrari, which has long been owned by Fiat. The offering, expected to launch later this month, could value the Italian supercar manufacturer at as much as $11 billion, according to market watchers.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Matthew Lewis)