Barring a last-minute compromise, it looks like the United Auto Workers union is set to stage a strike against Fiat Chrysler as the two sides have been unable to come up with a new contract after several months of fruitless negotiations.
According to knowledgeable sources who spoke to the media, negotiations between the UAW and Fiat Chrysler to rework a tentative agreement rejected by union members last week have broken down, upping the odds of a strike or forcing the union to take other steps.
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The UAW had already promised a strike if the two sides could not come to an agreement with Fiat Chrysler by Wednesday.
However, according to one of the the sources, the UAW’s negotiating team had been pulled from the bargaining table as of Tuesday afternoon.
A spokesperson for the UAW had not returned a phone call or an email by the time of publication.
Statement from Fiat Chrysler
“(Fiat Chrysler) confirms that it has received strike notification from the UAW,” the automaker allowed in a statement Tuesday. The statement continued, noting: “The company continues to work with the UAW in a constructive manner to reach a new agreement,” which suggests some kind of discussions may still be ongoing.
UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell had a letter delivered to Fiat Chrysler’s lead negotiator Glenn Shagana, vice president of employee relations at Fiat Chrysler, that gave formal notification that the UAW was terminating the currently extended agreement. A copy of the letter viewed by the Detroit Free Press said all labor agreements will be terminated as of Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.
The Auburn Hills-based automaker had been working with the union to try and come to terms with employee issues after two-thirds of Fiat Chrysler workers voted “no” to a tentative agreement that negotiators had hashed out over two months of negotiations.
Of note, union workers posting on the UAW’s Facebook page are claiming they have been told that notices of strike deadlines are being posted for 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.
However, according to Kristin Dziczek, director of the Labor & Industry Group at the Center for Automotive Research, strike deadline postings are often ambiguous as they don’t really tell the membership where things currently tand.
Dziczek noted that the situation might remain in a “transitional state” until the UAW international executive board formally authorizes a walkout.