July 16, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - UAW President Gary Jones (left) and FCA North America Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart opened 2019 contract talks with a ceremonial hand shake during an event today at the Company’s Auburn Hills complex with members of both organization’s leadership teams in attendance.

In his remarks, Stewart talked about the need to find innovative ways to prepare the Company for the next four years and beyond.

“Our industry is undergoing a massive transformation – one more profound than any since cars for the masses burst on the scene more than 100 year ago,” he said. “It is a transformation driven by disruptive technologies and by society’s realization that we need to protect the environment for the next generation.”

Stewart referenced his personal experience across a variety of industries as having shown him how disruption can be an opportunity to create value for all stakeholders.
“I encourage all of us to think about this new disruption in the automotive business,” Stewart said.

He acknowledged the hourly workforce for embracing World Class Manufacturing, the Company’s production system, and fostering a culture of safety, flexibility and efficiency.

“Every day, our employees demonstrate creativity in finding solutions and rising above challenges to better themselves, support their colleagues, and provide for their families and their loved ones,” he said.

But Stewart cautioned that it is important to remember the lessons learned in bankruptcy.

“We cannot and will not repeat the actions that put us in that dangerous financial position,” he said. “We cannot return to the old ways of doing business or we risk seeing the same result.

“We are committed to negotiating an agreement that will enable continued investment in our future together and create opportunities for our employees, their families, and the communities where we live and work,” Stewart said.

The ceremony marks the official start of bargaining on a new four-year agreement, which expires at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14.