After suffering a stinging defeat when the first proposed contract was decisively rejected by UAW members, the union is getting ready to sell a revamped deal with FCA US to a still-skeptical rank and file.

Union bargainers insist they have addressed key objections to contract, which was rejected by a 65%-35% margin earlier this month, by offering workers what it calls a“clear path” away from the unpopular 2-tier wage system the union accepted in 2007.

UAW President Dennis Williams, who was embarrassed by the rejection of the first tentative agreement, says the union has won several important changes that should make the new deal more palatable to FCA’s blue-collar employees.

“We returned to bargaining with a clear mandate to fight for a contract that gives all members a clearly defined path to fair pay and a decent standard of living,” Williams said in announcing the retooled proposal last week.

The changes include a major pay increase that effectively will eliminate the second tier by guaranteeing workers will reach the top pay grade after eight years of service. A substantial portion of workers now on the second tier would reach the first tier by the end of the proposed contract in 2019, UAW representatives say.

Nevertheless, the proposed contract still faces significant hurdles, including the doubts of workers who feel shortchanged under the current contract and believe the union has lost its traditional independence as it helped the then-Chrysler Group recover from its 2009 bankruptcy.

Harley Shaiken, a labor expert at the University of California-Berkeley, says UAW leaders have been aware for some time about the need to put the union on a more independent footing at FCA. He points to the changes pushed by former UAW President Bob King, who shuffled personnel inside the union’s Chrysler Dept. before he retired as evidence the UAW was aware of complaints it had become too close with FCA management led by CEO Sergio Marchionne.

During the UAW’s bargaining convention last spring, delegates, including many shop-floor workers, complained about grueling work schedules and lack of family time that was eroding morale inside the FCA production machine.