Detroit Free Press: Marick Masters on FCA, UAW proposed tentative agreement

The UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have reached a proposed tentative agreement that adds nearly 8,000 jobs over the life of the deal. The agreement potentially starts the last lap of months of union and automaker contract wrangling. The proposal now goes to the UAW FCA National Council, where local union leaders are scheduled to meet Wednesday to decide whether to recommend it to the membership. If they do, the proposal would then face a ratification vote by the approximately 47,200 FCA workers represented by the UAW. Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University who specializes in labor issues, said the tentative agreement "represents a significant step forward for the UAW and its membership in troubling times. Taking a step back to reflect more broadly on this event, it shows the institutional strength available to the UAW even when its leadership is trying to climb out of the throes of a major scandal," he said. "This is testament to the importance of having a strong institution behind the workers which is resilient enough to survive problematic leaders. The next step for the UAW, after ratification, is to re-examine its governance structure to see what reforms are necessary to become a more transparent and democratic union. Reform is essential to ensure that the UAW has place at the table as the industry goes through more profound economic and technological changes.”

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