On Air Now

Current Show

Free Talk Live   9:00 PM - 12:00 AM

Call Free Talk Live now at 1-855-450-FREE

Show Info »

Upcoming Shows

Program Schedule »

Listen

Listen Live Now » 590 AM Kalamazoo, MI

Weather

Current Conditions(Kalamazoo,MI 49001)

More Weather »
73° Feels Like: 73°
Wind: WNW 6 mph Past 24 hrs - Precip: 0.41”
Current Radar for Zip

Tonight

Scattered Thunderstorms 66°

Tomorrow

Mostly Sunny 79°

Wed Night

Clear 58°

Alerts

Fiat, Chrysler unions form "global network": King

Chrysler auto assembly worker Michael Ricks works on the assembly line attaching doors to the all-new 2011 Jeep Cherokee's at the Jefferson
Chrysler auto assembly worker Michael Ricks works on the assembly line attaching doors to the all-new 2011 Jeep Cherokee's at the Jefferson

By Bernie Woodall and Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Unions representing workers at Chrysler Group LLC and its Italian partner, Fiat SpA , are forming a "global network" to share information and best practices, United Auto Workers President Bob King said.

The UAW, which represents U.S. auto workers, will join with other labor unions in about 10 other countries, including Italy, where Fiat or Chrysler have production plants.

The group will not collectively bargain with the companies, King told reporters on a conference call from Turin, Italy on Wednesday.

He added that the formation of the group of unions would not have any impact on the upcoming talks between the UAW and Chrysler, General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co .

"Each individual union has their responsibility for negotiating their contract, but all unions will be helped by better dialogue and better information sharing," King said.

The UAW and Fiat unions will send a letter to Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Chrysler and Fiat, asking him to acknowledge the coalition.

Similar global union networks were established at Ford two years ago and GM several months ago. However, King said Ford and GM have not formally recognized the coalitions.

Another similar group has been formed by international unions including the UAW with Caterpillar Inc workers, King said.

Fiat took management control of Michigan-based Chrysler in 2009 after the U.S. automaker's federal bailout and bankruptcy restructuring.

Also involved in the network is Italian truck and tractor maker Fiat Industrial .

The next session of the newly created Fiat-Chrysler union group will be held in the next three to six months, King said.

On Wednesday, the new group agreed on a set of principles that includes the freedom of workers to organize in unions, to protect the rights of workers around the world including children and women workers.

But also, King said, the group of unions will work to foster successful companies.

"We have more of a vested interest than any other stakeholder in the company and the long-term success of the company," he said.

The information to be shared will generally be about worker safety, better ergonomics for workers, better work practices and how to ensure the production of quality vehicles, King said.

King, since he became UAW president a year ago, has spearheaded the union's efforts to extend its reach to other unions around the world. King earlier this year said such efforts can help the UAW in its relations with U.S. automakers in other countries where they have factories.

For the Fiat-Chrysler network, the UAW and Italian unions will be joined by unions from Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Serbia, Czech Republic and Poland, King said.

King said the notion for the network of unions at GM, Ford and Chrysler was an outgrowth of an effort to galvanize unions worldwide by the International Metalworkers' Federation.

(Editing by Carol Bishopric and Steve Orlofsky)

Comments