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Fiat Chrysler Reaches Tentative Deal With UAW, Avoiding Expensive Strike

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 8/10/2015 Jade Walker
ATHENA IMAGE © Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS ATHENA IMAGE

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler has avoided an expensive strike at its U.S. plants after reaching a tentative labor agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

UAW announced the agreement just after 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, which was the deadline the union had set to reach a new deal or possibly go on strike.

FCA confirmed it had reached a new tentative agreement with the union but said in a statement that the company cannot discuss the specifics because the deal is subject to member ratification. A spokeswoman declined further comment.

UAW, which represents around 40,000 FCA factory workers at 23 U.S. plants, said in a post on its website that its bargaining committee had "secured significant gains."

Local union leaders will vote on the proposed deal this Friday at a meeting in Detroit. If the council of union leaders approves the deal, UAW will release details and the ratification process will begin, a spokesman said.

This is the second agreement FCA and the union have reached. Last week, UAW members overwhelmingly rejected a previous tentative agreement, saying it didn't go far enough in restoring benefits workers lost in previous contracts.

That deal included pay raises, the potential for increased profit sharing and a $3,000 signing bonus. But members have called for an end to the current two-tier pay structure, more specific guarantees of new vehicles for U.S. factories and a return of cost-of-living pay raises.

FCA workers haven't gone on strike since 2007. Such a move would have been expensive for FCA. A weeklong strike could cost the company as much as $1.7 billion in revenue and $35 million in net income, according to Sean McAlinden, chief economist for the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research.

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Associated Press writer Tom Krisher contributed to this report.

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