Unifor Reaches Tentative Agreement With Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Unifor has reached a tentative agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (NYSE:FCAU) to keep 9,000 Canadian auto workers on the job.

The union representing Canadian auto workers says it reached an 11th-hour deal with Fiat Chrysler that could see the automaker invest $1.5 billion and add 2,000 jobs across the country.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias said the deal was hammered out "moments before midnight" to avert a strike at six vehicle plants across the country. The three-year collective agreement must now be voted on and approved by rank-and-file workers.

It's the second of the three Detroit-based automaker negotiations in 2020 for Canada's largest private sector union. Unifor members working at Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) voted in favour of a new three-year deal last month in a deal that created a template for talks with the other automakers. Negotiations with General Motors (NYSE:GM) are up next for Unifor.

Dias called the tentative deal with Fiat Chrysler "probably about the best economic agreement we've put together in 20 to 25 years," noting that it includes a significant signing bonus, wage increases and a return of shift premiums.

One of the highlights of the deal is the automobile manufacturer's plans to invest up to $1.5 billion at its Windsor, Ontario assembly plant. Dias said the southern Ontario factory will have two platforms, one for the Pacifica and Voyager minivans and a new platform set to launch in 2024 with at least one plug-in hybrid or battery-powered electric vehicle.

Additionally, the headcount at Fiat Chrysler in Canada is expected to grow by nearly 2,000 as a result of the new platform, with workers starting to come on board in 2023. The investment will bring back a third shift that was cut this past summer, eliminating 1,500 positions, according to Unifor.

The details of the tentative agreement will be presented to Unifor members during a series of virtual ratification meetings over the weekend. Members will vote on whether to accept the agreement over a 24-hour period starting this Sunday.