TORONTO – Unifor`s Master Bargaining Committee has reached an interim agreement for 9,000 members at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to avoid a midnight strike at its Canadian plants in Windsor, Brampton, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Montreal and Red Deer. Unifor, the Canadian union, said the interim agreement was a three-year agreement that takes into account demands for wages and health care. More importantly, Unifor President Jerry Dias said negotiations include hiring an additional 2,000 workers after Fiat Chrysler committed to invest up to C$1.5 billion, or $1.14 billion. “Indeed, the ACF continues to challenge the union on key elements of the model agreement, including positions related to wages and packages, health benefits and other issues. The union is still awaiting firm commitments on investments in facilities and product allocation, and National President Jerry Dias is in regular talks on the matter with ACF leaders in Auburn Hills,” the union said Tuesday in an update to its members. “I`m going to say this is the best economic deal we`ve ever had in 20-25 years,” Dias said. Brampton Assembly produces the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger. The company has committed to three new products derived from these vehicles, one for each year of the duration of the agreement. The assembly plant and satellite dance facility employ 2,985 workers per hour. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and the union, which represents about 9,000 workers at its three Canadian plants, reached an interim agreement late Wednesday night, which includes a multi-billion dollar investment in the automaker`s Windsor, Ontario assembly plant. The company said, through spokeswoman LouAnn Gosselin, that it was “obliged to reach an agreement that will allow us to continue to invest in our future and create opportunities for our employees, their families and the communities in which we live and work.” Details were not mentioned, but the union has scheduled a press conference for 10 .m Thursday. The company also confirmed that an interim agreement had been reached and said the details would be disclosed at a later date. The union said negotiations were continuing until Thanksgiving weekend because Fiat Chrysler challenged elements of the union`s agreement with Ford, including wages and health services.
“FCA does not necessarily have the product or investment promised by Ford Unifor, especially as they are in the midst of a merger with PSA. Unifor`s membership, however, will want a comparable one. The profitability and broad contours of the agreement were determined at Ford. Adapting this to the different circumstances of the ACF could be a big challenge,” Dziczek said before the preliminary agreement was announced. The union is planning a series of virtual ratification meetings for the weekend to give its members information on the proposed agreement. Voting is expected to begin at 10 .m Sunday, Unifor said in a press release. Unifor`s preliminary agreement with Fiat Chrysler includes a $1.5 billion investment in the Windsor assembly plant. The preliminary agreement also offers something for employees at the automaker`s smelter in Etobicoke, Ont., where the number of employees has grown from about 500 in 2016 to fewer than 200 people. Details of the interim agreement will first be presented to Unifor members at a series of virtual ratification meetings this weekend and members will vote on whether to adopt it over a 24-hour period, starting Sunday at 10 a.m.