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Union deals clear production of Jeeps at Mirafiori plant

by Bill Cawthon on

Sergio Marchionne received an early Christmas gift as most of the labor unions representing workers at Fiat’s Mirafiori plant agreed to new, more flexible work rules. The agreement will allow Fiat to go ahead with a $1.3 billion investment to retool the historic facility for production of sport-utility vehicles including some Jeep models.

FIOM, the hard-line metalworkers’ union, was not part of the agreement which may pose future problems for the labor organization. According to union sources involved in the negotiations, union activity is banned for labor groups that did not sign the agreement.

A worker referendum on the new agreement will come sometime in January.

In a statement released by Fiat, Marchionne said, “This is a great moment for all those who have worked so hard to reach an agreement, and especially meaningful for the workers and for the future of the plant.

“Today, Mirafiori begins a new phase of life. This plant symbolizes Fiat and is the custodian of Italy’s auto history and manufacturing pride. With today’s agreement, Mirafiori has now been enabled to make a leap of quality and gain recognition internationally, becoming the only example in Italy of a joint commitment with a foreign automaker, such as Chrysler.

“For our part, we are ready to launch the investment program as rapidly as possible.

“I am pleased that, in the end, the sense of responsibility has prevailed, even if we would have preferred that this project had the support of all trade union organizations.

“We now need to work on defining a collective agreement specific to the joint venture that will enable workers to transfer to the new Fiat-Chrysler enterprise.
This is an enormous opportunity and the best possible Christmas gift that we could give to our employees.”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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