UAW to meet with Fiat Italian unions in order to build ties

Article by Christian A., on March 25, 2011

The United Auto Workers wants to strengthen ties with Italian unions that represent workers of Fiat S.p.A. A meeting has been set up to take place in June. The head of UAW’s Chrysler department, UAW Vice President General Holiefield, said the Italians unions are “eager to sit down and talk with us.”

The Turin, Italy-based Fiat plans to invest EUR20 billion ($28.3 billion) to overhaul its domestic plants in return for having union workers take shorter breaks, put in more hours and risk having pay withheld for persistent absenteeism.

During the UAW’s recent bargaining convention in Detroit, UAW President Bob King, said UAW seeks to forge stronger relationships with unions representing workers at the overseas operations of Chrysler, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. UAW also seeks to organize foreign automakers' factories in the United States.

King said to Autonews the UAW met with trade union leaders from Ford's global operations six months ago and seeks a framework for a deal to protect workers' rights around the world.

He added that UAW's GM department is working on a similar effort and had its first meeting in February 2011. King stated that it’s “about having a unified labor movement globally so they don't pit workers in Germany against workers in England against workers in Brazil against workers in the United States.”

Richard Bensinger, who leads the UAW’s organizing efforts, said that in August 2011, the union created a Global Organizing Institute to recruit and train activists in countries including China, India and Brazil.

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