The union representing nearly 10,000 workers at three Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plants in Ontario said Monday night that it had hit "a major hurdle with FCA" during last-minute contract talks.
The union made the announcement in a tweet shortly after 8 p.m. ET and later elaborated in a video statement posted to Twitter.
FCA made a proposal to Unifor Monday evening, union spokeswoman Denise Hammond said during the recorded video update at about 8:30 p.m.
"Our union is concerned about the direction of the employer’s proposal," she said. "There are sticking points on both the local issues and on the priorities that were established in the pattern agreement" (reached with General Motors in September).
Those sticking points include investment commitments, wages, the new-hire progression grid and all other economics, Hammond said.
"These outstanding issues are of grave concern to us," she said. "Make no mistake, this is a very challenging set of negotiations for our union."
Canadian workers represented by Unifor are prepared to strike at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday if FCA continues to resist the pattern the union established with General Motors.
FCA continues to see the collective agreement with GM as "too rich" and has yet to offer the union a deal that meets its demands for investments and higher pay, the union said earlier Monday.
Hammond said the union will accept "absolutely nothing less" than what was established in the GM deal, which included hundreds of millions of dollars of investments in three GM plants, raises for legacy workers and a change to the 10-year wage grow-in for new hires. New GM hires will receive pay raises each year under the new deal, compared with a freeze on wages during the first three years under the old contract.
"The pattern agreement reached with General Motors sets the foundation for Fiat Chrysler and our future negotiations with Ford," Hammond said. "There is no way we will go backwards. We will continue to fight for the pattern agreement.
"We will strike."
Unifor has scheduled another update for 10:30 p.m. Monday.
Hammond's comments mirrored those of Unifor President Jerry Dias, who spoke with Automotive News late Monday morning. He struck a cautiously optimistic tone with just over 12 hours remaining until about 9,750 unionized employees at three Ontario FCA plants are set to walk off the job.
“They are not amused to say the least about the changes we made to that 10-year hire-in grid,” Dias said, echoing comments he made earlier this month.