UAW International President Gary Jones’s Remarks
FCA Handshake Ceremony
July 16, 2019
Good afternoon UAW Brothers and Sisters, fellow UAW board members and the members of our great bargaining councils.
Good afternoon members of the FCA leadership. Mark Stewart, Thank you for being here for this important event.
I’d like to start by recognizing the hard work of the UAW FCA Department, led by my Sister and friend, Vice President Cindy Estrada, and the members of FCA national negotiating committee.
It is an honor to be here today to represent the hardest working men and women I know, my UAW family.
Brothers and Sisters who build the best products in the world.
Who are FCA’s best customers.
And who stepped right up and took concessions during the dark days of the downturn to ensure FCA’s survival.
So, today I come with a message from my UAW Brothers and Sisters.
Since the 2015 negotiations, FCA has seen enormous gains in profits.
Profits made possible by the UAW workforce.
And I have heard loud and clear — at every FCA plant and local I visit.
My Brothers and Sisters who build these cars and trucks and SUVs and who stood by this company and made sacrifices to ensure its survival, expect to share in those profits.
When you needed us, we were there, and we expect no less in return.
We all know that we’re seeing record profits among our American auto companies.
In fact, the Big 3 are more profitable in North America than any of their competitors.
You all have the home advantage.
That advantage is built every day in your plants by our members.
But I am sorry to say, that despite billions of dollars in corporate profits, we’ve been watching a Race to the Bottom over the past several years for working men and women in this country.
In this time of corporate prosperity, labor is still being asked to take concessions.
Cuts in benefits, retirement security in jeopardy, job loss, wage loss, outsourcing, more and more temporary workers, jobs shifted to Mexico and China.
THIS MUST STOP.
With this year’s negotiations, we will halt that Race to the Bottom.
We will protect our work, our jobs and our way of life.
We will call on FCA to protect our jobs and allocate product at Belvidere, Kokomo or in any location where product is not yet allocated. And we want every location to continue to grow the FCA membership … who produce some of the finest and best quality vehicles in the world.
We will address the issues of Temporary workers in our workforce and outsourcing our jobs to companies in both the United States, Mexico and abroad.
And we will take up the issue of progression and shorten the eight-year window that my Brothers and Sisters say — LOUDLY… is way too long to get to the top of the pay scale.
We expect an agreement that recognizes our contributions to profitability and looks ahead with FCA to a prosperous future.
And as we look ahead, our UAW members expect to build the products of the future and be part of the manufacturing and automation processes that are on the horizon.
We were so pleased this year to see FCA’s $4.5 billion investment in our Detroit community and in the creation of good-paying union jobs.
We look forward to more investment in American jobs.
We are ready for the exciting new technologies that will redefine the auto industry in the decades ahead.
We will bargain hard to ensure that UAW members are provided with the training, the tools and the safe environments to, as always, more than keep pace with the industry’s advancements.
We are excited to be part of the evolving workforce: EV propulsion and energy storage; autonomous vehicles and related components, new mobility businesses and joint ventures.
We understand that joint ventures and business partnerships are sometimes necessary to continued profitability.
And whether it’s an OEM or technology partner, we are here to work with you on those ventures and have a role in those discussions.
We look forward to good negotiations and a good contract. Our membership is standing strong.
My UAW Brothers and Sisters are ready to do whatever is necessary to get the contract that, in this time of record profits, they DESERVE.
So, we kick off 2019 negotiations today.
And I say to everyone listening and everyone in this room:
We are the voice of the American worker.
The defenders of the Middle Class.
AND WE ARE READY TO TALK!
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