DETROIT, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Former U.S. auto czar Ron Bloom is advising the head of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, on a deal with the United Auto Workers, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
Bloom who helped create the deal that secured a minority share of Chrysler for a United Auto Workers' retirement fund -- the Voluntary Employee Benefits Association -- during its 2009 bankruptcy, is now advising Fiat on how to buy the fund's stake as cheaply as possible, the Journal reported Friday.
Bloom, who is also vice chairman at Lazard, has a long track record of negotiating for unions as the United Steel Worker's chief negotiator.
Bloom has worked both sides of the fence before. He was instrumental in persuading the Obama administration to save Chrysler with a federal bailout in 2009, and he also negotiated for unions when Chrysler and General Motors were restructuring their debt during their respective bankruptcies.
The negotiations with VEBA are critical for Fiat. Marchionne's plan is to own Chrysler outright and then merge Chrysler with Fiat. If no deal is struck VEBA would put is shares up for sale in an initial public offering.
JPMorgan Chase has already been picked to lead an IPO, if it comes to that, the Journal said.