United Auto Workers union members have finally agreed to a new four-year contract with Fiat Chrysler (FCA), the Detroit Free Press reports.
Negotiations began in July and nearly led to a strike when members rejected the first proposed contract three weeks ago. It was voted down by 65% of union members, a rejection that hasn’t been seen in over 30 years. They voted against it because it didn’t ensure sufficient job security, nor did it address a controversial two-tier wage system that pays workers hired after 2007 up to 45% less than those hired before.
This new deal has garnered votes from 77% of union members. It does address the two issues that the previously rejected deal did not: It provides signing bonuses and raises for both entry-level and longtime workers; and it eliminates the two-tier pay structure by promising so-called “second-tier” workers will make $29 per hour within eight years of being hired—their pay will rise to at least $22.50 within their first four years. The Detroit Free Press writes that this makes them “nearly equal” those who were hired pre-2007.
UAW President Dennis Williams said in a statement:
The resolve of our membership and the dedication of our negotiating team has produced an agreement that affords UAW members a strong wage package and job security while still allowing the company to competitively produce high quality vehicles for our customers.