Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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A big win for local UAW

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A vehicle moves past a sign outside Fiat Chrysler Automobiles world headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has quietly backtracked on its intent to abolish 88 trucking-related jobs at the Toledo Jeep Assembly plant. And that is a very good thing.

The global auto manufacturer tried to eliminate jobs without going through the mandated collective bargaining with United Auto Workers Local 12, but the combination of public exposure of the questionable decision, which coincided with a corruption scandal in the Detroit leadership of the union, may have convinced Fiat Chrysler to cut its losses.

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The company remained tight-lipped when asked to acknowledge the settlement of the Toledo trucking jobs.

However, members of the local union were jubilant to learn, a few days ago, that Fiat Chrysler had decided to rescind the closure of the local truck depot and leave the matter for a later round of negotiations.

At issue are the truck delivery jobs based at the Jeep plant. Local UAW workers drive trucks from Toledo to Dundee, Mich., and Trenton, Mich., to get engines; Kokomo, Ind. to pick up transmissions; and Carey, Ohio, for Jeep hardtops. They then bring them back to the Toledo Assembly Complex, which builds the Jeep Wrangler.

In October, Fiat Chrysler surprised Local 12 by announcing that 88 workers would lose their jobs because the company could handle the trucking work out of Detroit and Windsor.

Toledo’s UAW has in the past shown willingness to bargain in the best interests of its members and the company. In this case, the union was blindsided.

More worrisome, neither the UAW higher-ups nor Chrysler would shed any light on the supposed talks relating to the trucking jobs.

Local UAW workers picketed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. The questionable negotiations over the trucking jobs came to light about the same time that federal law enforcement authorities were uncovering illegal dealings between top UAW officials and Fiat Chrysler.

Whether the two events are related is unclear.

According to Local 12 President Bruce Baumhower, the trucking jobs will be reserved for negotiation in a future contract, probably 2023.

Mr. Baumhower credited The Blade for helping to move Chrysler Fiat in the right direction. Saving jobs is always the right direction.

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