While Fiat Chrysler Automobiles considers a merger with Renault, older Jeep employees and retirees recall their last dance with the French automaker in the 1980s, when Renault merged with American Motors Corp., which owned Jeep at the time.
Tom Schuster, who retired in 2001 as DaimlerChrysler's senior IT manager for the U.S. and Canada, managed Jeep's information technology department in 1980 and told the The Blade newspaper in Toledo, Ohio, that he remembered the partnership well.
"Renault, when they came in, their attitude was there were Lords and Serfs," Schuster told The Blade in a story published Sunday. "That was their management style."
Bruce Baumhower, a newly elected UAW Local 12 steward in the 1980s who is now president of the union local, told The Blade he also remembers Renault's management style.
"They put us right in the ditch, man. It was a horrible culture to work under," Baumhower told the newspaper. "And now, here comes Renault again," he said.
The UAW hasn't taken a formal position on the potential megamerger of FCA and Renault. "We are monitoring the proposed merger and are waiting for more detail to analyze how it impacts our members," a UAW spokesman told Automotive News in an e-mail Monday.