The fate of a tentative labour agreement at Chrysler
LLC remained uncertain Sunday after two large United Auto Workers
locals representing about 4,500 of the union's 45,000 members at the
automaker split over the deal.
National UAW leaders appeared concerned about the fate of the
agreement, asking all appointed union officials to sign a statement
backing the deal.
The contract had already failed in ratification votes Friday and
Saturday at Local 110 in Fenton, Mo.; Local 1183 in Newark, Del.;
and Local 122 in Twinsburg, Ohio. It failed again Sunday in a vote
by members of UAW Local 7 at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit.
About 57 per cent of voters opposed the deal, the local said,
declining to release the totals.
Jefferson North makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander
and has about 2,200 UAW members.
But workers at a parts plant in suburban Syracuse, N.Y., bucked
the trend Sunday, voting 88 per cent in favour of the deal.
The vote at UAW Local 624 in DeWitt, N.Y., was 1,045-163 in
favour. The local represents about 2,300 employees at Chrysler's New
Process Gear plant.
``Those gentlemen have gotten us the best deal possible,'' said
shop chairman George Welitschinsky. ``And let me tell you something,
they are the best negotiators I've ever seen, and they take care of
the UAW families; they take care of everybody's family.''
UAW and Chrysler bargainers reached the national agreement Oct.
10 after a six-hour strike. The deal came the same day the union
announced that General Motors Corp. workers had approved a similar
If Chrysler workers vote it down, negotiators must go back to the
The four-year contract would establish a union-run,
company-funded trust to cover retiree health care. It also would
establish lower wages for about 11,000 noncore workers who don't
build cars or parts.
It would not raise base pay but would give workers a $3,000
signing bonuses and lump sum payments of three or four per cent in
the remaining years.
Last week, UAW vice-president General Holiefield sent a memo to
local union leaders asking all appointed union representatives to
sign a statement endorsing the agreement.
Holiefield was expected to meet Monday to discuss the contract
with officials at Local 1700, which represents about 2,200 hourly
workers at a Chrysler plant in suburban Detroit's Sterling Heights,
according to a union member who was at the local's meeting Sunday.
The union member said plans for meeting Holiefield were announced
at the Sunday meeting, but he asked not to be identified because he
isn't authorized to speak publicly about such matters.
Members of Local 1700 are expected to vote Wednesday on whether
to ratify the tentative agreement.