GM alleges Fiat-Chrysler bribed union leaders

GM alleges Fiat-Chrysler bribed union leaders
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Automaker General Motors (GM) has filed a lawsuit alleging that officials at rival auto giant Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) bribed top union officials in the U.S. to secure more favorable contracts with autoworkers' unions.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a court filing in the U.S. District Court in Detroit alleges that bribes totaling in the millions were used to secure three favorable contracts from the United Auto Workers (UAW).

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“FCA was the clear sponsor of pervasive wrongdoing, paying millions of dollars in bribes to obtain concessions” from UAW, wrote chief counsel to GM, Craig Glidden, according to the AP.

“FCA’s manipulation of the collective bargaining process resulted in unfair labor costs and operational advantages for it, causing harm to GM," he continued.

News of the lawsuit comes as the union and Fiat-Chrysler are set to once again begin contract negotiations, with the union announcing its plans to seek concessions from the company on Tuesday, according to Autoblog.com.

FCA lashed out at GM executives in a statement to The Hill, accusing their competitor of trying to disrupt a merger between FCA and French automaker Groupe PSA.

“We are astonished by this filing, both its content and its timing. We can only assume this was intended to disrupt our proposed merger with PSA as well as our ongoing negotiations with the UAW. We intend to vigorously defend against this meritless lawsuit and pursue all legal remedies in response to it," said Fiat-Chrysler.

UAW officials said in a statement that the UAW was working to prevent the kind of misconduct that resulted in the imprisonment of former FCA executive Alphons Iacobelli last year over a scheme to funnel training money to UAW executives, while adding that Iacobelli's misconduct referenced in the GM lawsuit did not extend to the contracts with Fiat-Chrysler.

"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," the union said. "Those contracts, which were ultimately ratified by our membership, were negotiated with the involvement of both local and international representatives and the process had multiple layers of checks and balances to ensure their integrity."