Autoworker Go to Fiat Chrysler For First Talkers

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Contract talks intensified on Monday between the United Automobiles, which was selected by the union to be the first among Detroit’s three carmakers to negotiate a new national labor agreement. The current four-year contracts between the U.A.W. and General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler were to expire at midnight on Monday. All three companies have been in negotiations with the union since July. But the UAW’s president, Dennis Williams, surprised industry observers on Sunday by targeting which is expecting to have the toughest negotiation to reach the first settlement. Mr. Williams has said his top priority is to negotiate wage increase for veteran workers, who earn about 28 an hour, as well as entry-level employees who earn from 16 to 19 an hour. The union is seeking  to close the pay gap between the tiers of workers, and possibly limit the number of low-paid employees at each of the three companies. More than 40 percent of fiat Chrysler ‘s 36,000 union workers in the United States are entry-level employees(a sore point with union officials). By contrast, about 20 percent of the Union members at GM and Ford are paid the lower wage scale. Those goals will be hard to reach at Fiat Chrysler. Because of the big number of entry-level workers, its overall labor costs are lower than those at GM and Ford. Fiat Chrysler’s chief executive, Sergio marchionne, has pushed to end the twotier wage system. Instead, he advocates a single wage scale that falls somewhere in between the tiers. The union, however, is unlikely to agree to any cut in wages for its veteran workers. Mr. Williams may also try to negotiate a limit on the number of entry-level workers at Fiat Chrysler. But one expert was skeptical. 

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