Fiat Chrysler and Unifor Reach Agreement

Fiat Chrysler and Unifor reached agreement on a new four-year contract just minutes before the union and its 9,750 workers would have been in a legal strike position.

The union had threatened job action if it could not secure a new deal with the automaker similar to one negotiated with General Motors.

Unifor and Fiat Chrysler have been at the negotiating table throughout the Thanksgiving weekend.

The union traditionally works out an agreement with one of the Detroit Three automakers and then uses that as a pattern in its negotiations with the remaining two companies. Unifor picked General Motors as its first negotiating target, and the two sides reached a deal that was ratified in late September.

Unifor President Jerry Dias says Fiat Chrysler has committed to invest a total of $554 million at its Ontario plants in addition to increasing wages and benefits for the union’s members in line with a pattern established at General Motors. He said the deal, which followed what he called “one very difficult set of negotiations,” mirrors the one reached with General Motors on Sept. 20. That deal, since ratified by GM workers, includes a 2% wage increase this year and another two per cent increase in September 2019. There is also a $6,000 signing bonus plus lump-sum bonuses of $2,000 in each of the next three years to most employees.

Dias said the agreement with Fiat Chrysler includes a $325-million investment at an assembly plant in Brampton, Ont., and a pledge to upgrade an old paint shop at the facility.

Dias also announced Fiat Chrysler has committed to make a plug-in hybrid vehicle in Windsor and includes a measure to protect jobs at the automaker’s casting plant in the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke that are threatened by the company’s discontinuation of the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart.

A vote on the tentative agreement will be held by the full membership on Sunday, Oct. 16.