(Adds comment from union leader, context from second analyst)
By Allison Lampert
MONTREAL, Sept 22 Canada's main autoworkers
union, Unifor, said on Thursday that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
was its next target in negotiations, after
securing a tentative deal with General Motors Co this
The Canadian union uses pattern bargaining, in which the
first deal it reaches with one of the three big unionized
automakers sets a template the other two are expected to follow.
After securing increased investment in Canadian plants from
GM, Unifor will ask Fiat Chrysler to upgrade an outdated paint
shop at a Brampton, Ontario plant which makes the Chrysler 300
and Dodge Challenger and Charger sedans. Unifor said it
represents 9,750 Fiat Chrysler manufacturing workers in Canada.
Unifor president Jerry Dias has turned bargaining with GM,
Fiat Chrysler and Ford Motor Co into a campaign for the
future of Canada's once-thriving auto industry. The union made
concessions to GM on pensions in exchange for new investments.
FCA said in a statement it has "a long-standing history of
working collaboratively with Unifor."
Nearly 4,000 Unifor GM members are scheduled to vote Sunday
on a deal that Dias says would guarantee the survival of the
automaker's Oshawa facility and bring some engine assembly from
Mexico to a second plant.
If members approve the four-year contract, Unifor said it
would resume Fiat Chrysler talks.
Fiat Chrysler would benefit from the union's GM deal where
Unifor agreed to a pure defined-contribution pension plan for
new workers. Veteran employees have defined-benefit pensions and
those hired since 2012 have a hybrid plan.
Talks are expected to be easier with Fiat Chrysler than with
GM, where a deal was reached with Unifor just minutes before a
Sept. 19 strike deadline, industry analysts say.
Fiat Chrysler said it has invested C$3.7 billion and created
1,200 jobs in Canada since 2014 to develop and produce its
Pacifica hybrid minivan.
"GM was the toughest," said Arthur Schwartz, a former GM
negotiator. "Chrysler would not take a strike in Canada because
of the minivans."
Dias said by phone he is "very concerned about Brampton."
But upgrading the aging paintshop would cost "hundreds of
millions of dollars," said a source familiar with the facility.
And Fiat Chrysler, the weakest of the three automakers,
won't be eager to invest in Brampton after pouring money into
the Windsor plant which builds the Pacifica, said Sam Fiorani,
vice president of AutoForecast Solutions LLC.
"Fiat Chrysler is not anxious to put money into anything."
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Additional reporting
by Susan Taylor in Toronto; Editing by Nick Zieminski and James