GM accuses rival Fiat Chrysler of bribe scheme in lawsuit

Daniel Fowler
November 21, 2019

"The multi-year bribery scheme FCA led undermined the integrity of the collective bargaining process and caused GM substantial damages", Glidden said, referring to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Fiat said it was "astonished" by both the content and timing of GM's lawsuit.

"We can only assume this was meant to disrupt our proposed merger with PSA as well as our negotiations with the UAW". "We intend to vigorously defend against this meritless lawsuit and pursue all legal remedies in response to it", the company said in an emailed statement.

Craig Glidden, GM's executive vice-president and general counsel, said the lawsuit is only to draw attention to accountability on FCA's part.

In the suit, it includes mention of the guilty plea from former FCA VP of employee relations, Alphons Iacobelli, as well as other former employees who have taken plea deals including Jerome Durden and Michael Brown.

For the 2015 labor negotiations, Marchionne allegedly worked with Williams to craft a deal tailored to FCA, while ensuring the UAW's "pattern bargaining" process created intentional monetary harm to GM in the form of high and unexpected labor costs for its USA operations.

GM claims the conspiracy was created to put it at a cost disadvantage to FCA. The attempted merger with PSA has no bearing on GM's complaint, he said.

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Glidden said GM is not suing the UAW because it believes that responsibility rests with FCA, which was the "orchestrator" of the conspiracy.

"The UAW is focused on continuing to implement ethics reforms and greater financial controls to make sure the misconduct which has been uncovered will never happen again", the union said in a statement distributed Wednesday by spokesman Brian Rothenberg. UAW workers at Ford Motor Co F.N ratified a new contract last week, while GM workers approved a deal in late October that ended a contentious 40-day US strike. As to the collective bargaining agreements negotiated with FCA while Iacobelli was an FCA manager, we are confident that the terms of those contracts were not affected by Iacobelli's misconduct, nor that of any UAW officials involved in the misuse of Joint Program funds at FCA.

Pearson is facing criminal charges while Jones has not been charged but federal agents raided his suburban Detroit home in August.

Fiat-Chrysler has not yet publicly responded to the lawsuit.

GM's Glidden said a "pattern of racketeering" by FCA from 2009 to 2015 left GM paying higher wages than Fiat Chrysler, and allowed the latter to use more temporary workers and lower-paid second-tier workers than GM.

"Many of the advantages FCA was able to obtain were denied to GM". GM said that probe, coupled with its own investigation, resulted in the lawsuit.

GM filed suit in federal court in MI on Wednesday seeking to recoup unspecified damages from its rival, which has in the past denied being aware three former executives conspired with United Auto Workers officials to undermine labor law.

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