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UAW rejects Fiat Chrysler contract deal, strikes loom

uawfiatDETROIT--Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's U.S. workers soundly rejected a four-year contract the automaker had agreed with the UAW, the union said on Thursday, setting the stage for at least localized strikes against the automaker.
  The tentative agreement was voted down by 65 percent of the 40,000 unionized workers who work at the 37 plants of Fiat Chrysler, the smallest of the three major Detroit automakers. UAW President Dennis Williams was holding a meeting with 300 representatives from Fiat Chrysler union halls on Thursday to consider next steps.
  "We will gather the issues together and notify (Fiat Chrysler) that further discussions are needed," Williams said in a statement.
  In the aftermath of the rejection, which reflects growing discontent among auto workers about stagnant pay, some Fiat Chrysler locals are preparing to send workers out on strike. Alternatively, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union may invite Fiat Chrysler back to the negotiating table, or they could decide to turn its attention to one of the other Detroit Three companies - GM or Ford.
  During the General Motors Global Business Conference on Thursday CEO Mary Barra said the company has had regular dialogue with the UAW. "It is their choice how they resolve" the contract with Fiat Chrysler, she added.
  There has not been a sustained UAW strike in decades, and this makes the first time a national contract negotiated between the UAW and a major car maker has been rejected since 1982. It is the first time since 1976 that a contract with the company chosen by the union for pattern bargaining has failed.
  Fiat Chrysler said it was disappointed by the tentative pact's rejection. "The Company will make decisions, as always, based on achieving our industrial objectives, and looks forward to continuing a dialogue with the UAW," the company said in a statement.
  A localized strike against Ford Motor Co was a possibility even before the Fiat Chrysler vote. The UAW's top negotiator at Ford on Tuesday said he has authorized a strike as early as Sunday by 7,500 workers at a factory near Kansas City, Mo. that builds the company's best-selling F-150 pickup truck, a linchpin of Ford's global profits.

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