Workers at three more United Auto Workers local unions
have rejected a tentative contract agreement between the national
union and Chrysler LLC, casting doubt on whether the deal will be
Members at locals in Missouri, Ohio and Delaware voted against
the deal Friday and Saturday even as union leaders from Detroit
spent the later part of the week lobbying for ``yes'' votes.
The contract failed Saturday at Local 110 in Fenton, Missouri,
one of Chrysler's largest, with 2,781 hourly workers at the South
Assembly Plant. The vote was surprising because the plant makes
Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan minivans, which are
brand new for 2008 and expected to be top sellers, providing job
security for several years.
Although final totals from the 45,000 workers voting on the pact
will not be made known until next week, the size and locations of
the locals voting ``no'' are not good signs for leaders in Detroit,
said Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California at
Berkeley who specializes in labor issues.
``The early results are abysmal,'' Shaiken said. ``Members have
sent a message of considerable unrest.''
Dissident union members have used the Internet to express
opposition to the pact, and the UAW's national Chrysler negotiating
chairman, Bill Parker, president of a local in suburban Detroit's
Sterling Heights, has come out against it.
If the contract is rejected by UAW members, it would be the first
time in at least two decades that has happened, Shaiken said.
The agreement was reached Oct. 10 after a six-hour strike, the
same day the union announced that General Motors Corp. workers had
approved a similar contract. If Chrysler workers vote it down,
negotiators must go back to the bargaining table.
The UAW said negotiators were able to fend off the company's
demand for wage cuts of US$1.01 per hour and cost-of-living
adjustment delays, according to a booklet summarizing the deal. They
also saved about 1,500 jobs at the Toledo, Ohio, machining plant,
which was slated to close.
But 14 of 21 factories listed in the booklet have no future
products to make after the current product life cycle or the life of
the new contract. Seven were to get future products.
Like the GM deal, the union won a moratorium on plant closing and
outsourcing. The outsourcing ban on noncore work will keep 8,000
jobs, the booklet said.
Richard McDonaugh Jr., president of Local 1183 at Chrysler's
Newark, Delaware, assembly plant, said Saturday that the contract
failed at his local by a vote a 54 per cent to 46 per cent. The
local represents 1,100 hourly UAW members.
McDonaugh said the Newark plant is scheduled to be closed by the
Messages were left with UAW spokesman Roger Kerson in Detroit.