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No FCA US plants to be idled

by Bill Cawthon on

Buried in the highlights of the proposed agreement for salaried UAW employees is a brief statement:

The company has notified the union there are no plans to idle any plants over the term of this agreement. Should economic conditions or sales declines affect schedules at a location, management will meet with the UAW to review the situation and explore options and alternatives to idling a facility.

Coupled with the promised $5.3 billion to be invested in U.S. plants, this is a strong commitment, but only to the Jeep and Ram brands.

Marchionne-Williams-Labor-web

With the transfer of the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart to the Toluca, Mexico, plant, there won’t be any Chrysler brand vehicles built in the United States for the first time since Chrysler was founded. Unless the move to bring all light truck production to the U.S. includes the Journey, which is currently built in Mexico, the sole U.S-built Dodge will be the Durango.

The company also agreed not to merge with another company unless the new entity honors the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

While it sounds like a big concession, either Ford or GM would be delighted to have the same CBA. The terms of the new agreement won’t raise Fiat Chrysler’s hourly labor costs to anywhere near those at its Motor City competitors. It also apparently blesses the continuance of the waiver of the cap on Tier 2 workers in the total labor force.

Depending on how the Ford and GM negotiations work out, Fiat Chrysler workers might want a guarantee that a merger will bring them into the other company’s contact.

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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