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Auto union now turns focus to Fiat Chrysler

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers union on Monday turned its bargaining focus to Fiat Chrysler, raising the possibility of another strike against a Detroit automaker.
Ford workers ratified their contract Friday night, while the union settled with General Motors last month after a 40-day strike by 49,000 workers that shut down the company’s U.S. production.
Ford, which has 55,000 UAW workers, mostly followed the pattern agreement set at GM. But industry analysts say the same deal will cost Fiat Chrysler a lot more money because of the makeup of its workforce.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley said recently that automakers are in “different conditions” in terms of labor forces, hinting the company may be reluctant to follow the pattern.
The union, however, expects FCA to follow the template set by GM and Ford.
“We look forward to bargaining a fair, balanced and patterned contract as FCA is a profitable company,” the UAW said in a statement. “You cannot brag about your earnings to Wall Street and at the same time ignore the sacrifice of your workforce that put you in that profitable position.”
The deal with Ford and GM gives workers hired after 2007 pay raises so they reach top UAW production wages within four years. It also gives temporary workers a path to full-time jobs within three years. Workers hired after 2007 now are paid lower wages than workers hired before that, even though they’re doing the same jobs. Workers hired before 2007 get a mix of annual pay raises and lump sum payments.
Fiat Chrysler has more workers hired after 2007, and a higher percentage of temporary workers than either Ford or GM. That means the terms of the contract would cost the company more money.