UAW Extends Contracts with Ford and FCA

UAW extends Ford, Fiat Chrysler pacts; strike possible at GM

UAW extends Ford, Fiat Chrysler pacts; strike possible at GM

Rory Gamble, the official who oversees the UAW's relations with Ford, said a contract extension was "not unusual and commonly occurs when another company has been identified as the lead".

"GM isn't going to give them some sort of a sweetheart of a contract just because the union leadership is being faced with all these corruption charges", said Auto Analyst John Mcelroy.

The union's national agreements with GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler end at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, and the union has picked GM as its target company.

- As the clock rolls to 11:59pm on Saturday night, the first sign of a strike between the UAW and GM may come with cleaning crews walking off the job first.

One Detroit local union hall already has posted picket line schedules with no dates attached.

"GM is looking through the windshield ahead, and it looks like nothing but land mines", he said of a possible recession, trade disputes and the expense of developing electric and autonomous vehicles.

But a Saturday midnight deadline for the UAW to agree on a new four-year labor contract with General Motors Co now remains in place, a union spokesman said.

But leaders are likely to face questions about an expanding federal corruption probe that snared a top official on Thursday.

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Vance Pearson, the region 5 director, is the 10 person charged in the federal investigation.

Tensions have been running high ever since GM announced in November it would idle four USA plants and the talks are complicated by an FBI investigation that resulted in fraud charges against a UAW official in the GM division along with an investigation of a lavish junket involving UAW President Gary Jones and former President Dennis Williams.

Jones and other union executives met privately at a hotel at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Friday.

In a 40-page criminal complaint, the government alleged that over $600,000 in UAW money was spent by union officials at businesses in the Palm Beach, California, area, including at restaurants, a golf resort, cigar shop and rental properties, between 2014 and 2017.

"While these allegations are very concerning, we strongly believe that the government has misconstrued any number of facts and emphasize that these are merely allegations, not proof of wrongdoing".

Average hourly wages in the USA auto industry peaked in 2010 and have since fallen roughly 2%, or 16% when adjusted for inflation, according to Kristin Dziczek, vice president of the industry and labor economics group at the Center for Automotive Research.

Strikes at GM by the UAW have lasted a couple of day to weeks in past years. The union wants annual pay raises to guard against an economic downturn, but the company wants to pay lump sums tied to earnings. Federal investigators claim the complaint is true and have arrested a UAW board member and four other current and former UAW leaders they say are involved. GM now has too much US factory capacity.

- All three companies want to close the labor cost gap with workers at plants run by foreign automakers. UAW members pay about 3% of their healthcare costs compared with 28% paid by the average US worker. The company also is concerned about healthcare costs, which have topped $1 billion a year. "Regardless, we will not let this distract us from the critical negotiations underway with GM to gain better wages and benefits for the more than 400,000 members of our union", the union said in an e-mailed statement.

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