Fiat Chryser talks break down and autoworkers prepare to strike

Fiat Chrysler’s CEO opened contract talks with UAW in July 2015.
Fiat Chrysler’s CEO opened contract talks with UAW in July 2015.
Image: AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Last week, United Auto Workers (UAW) and Fiat Chrysler wrapped up two months of negotiations over a four-year plan to secure better pay and more benefits for the company’s autoworkers, and that plan was rejected by the union members.

Now, the pressure to settle on a better proposal is on. Today, Norwood Jewell, the lead UAW negotiator with Fiat Chrysler, sent the automaker’s employee relations representative a notice that their current contract together would terminate tomorrow.

Fiat Chrysler told the Detroit Free Press that it did receive notice of the contract termination—which comes after the contracts were already extended once so that Fiat and UAW could continue talks. The company also confirmed that it received notice that its autoworkers could strike after Wednesday.

A strike could spell trouble for Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne, who is preparing Ferrari, one of its brands, for an IPO later this month. Meanwhile, a source told the Free Press that UAW organizers are being asked to pick up picket signs.