Last But Not Least: Chrysler and UAW Reach Tentative Agreement

By Trevor Dorchies | October 12, 2011
The United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative agreement with Chrysler. The deal is expected to cover wages and benefits for 23,000 Chrysler hourly workers and will create another 2100 jobs. Chrysler will also invest $4.5 billion in facilities to create new products as part of the agreement. With tentative deals at Ford and General Motors, the UAW’s arrangement with Chrysler means each of the Detroit Three automakers have an agreement in place. "This tentative agreement builds on the momentum of job creation and our efforts to rebuild America by adding 2100 new jobs by the end of the agreement in 2015 to communities left in turmoil in the wake of the country's economic collapse," UAW President Bob King said in a statement. Chrysler has also released a statement confirming a deal is in place but in order to be official the agreement must be ratified by Chrysler's 25,000 UAW members. The new deal reportedly includes a $3500 signing bonus with half of it paid upfront and the other half at a later date. Chrysler must meet particular financial objectives in order for workers to trigger the other half of the signing bonus. UAW workers will also see an increase of $500 each year to combat inflation and another $500 as a quality bonus.
From the beginning, Chrysler and Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne was interested in a different deal for Chrysler’s UAW agreement, compared to that of GM and Ford. For the first half of 2011, Chrysler bled out to the tune of $254 million while GM saw a profit of $5.7 billion and $4.9 billion for Ford. Currently, Fiat now owns 53.5 percent of Chrysler and is expected to acquire another five percent by year's end. UAW Vice President General Holiefield believes the agreement is an accomplishment in a long line of financial issues that face Chrysler. "This agreement is the latest in a remarkable turnaround for Chrysler," Holiefield said in a statement. "The company declared bankruptcy just a few years ago and with great sacrifice by UAW Chrysler workers and with federal loans and support from the Obama administration, Chrysler has paid back the loans in full." By reaching an agreement, Chrysler and the UAW avoid the possibility of entering a long and arduous arbitration process that might pause Chrysler’s progress while GM and Ford moved forward. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required), UAW, Chrysler