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Chrysler, CAW talks more demanding

A member of the United Auto Workers enters a union hall near Chrysler's Belvidere Assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill.

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Chrysler resumes talks with the Canadian Auto Workers union today.
The struggling car company is asking union members to accept a big pay cut and other concessions. Chrysler is also negotiating with U.S. autoworkers. All this to keep its Italian suitor Fiat interested. And what happens in Canada could be a precursor to talks here. Marketplace's Caitlan Carroll explains.


Caitlan Carroll: American auto workers will be focused on Canada today as Chrysler and the CAW resume negotiations. That's because the UAW has about two weeks to strike a deal with Chrysler that bond holders, the government and Fiat will accept.

Gary Chaison is a professor of labor relations at Clark University:

Gary Chaison: It's not really collective bargaining going on. If anything, it's warnings and demands that are being made.

Chrysler's demanding that union members make deep concessions in areas like health care and wages. And they're warning the UAW that if workers don't agree, Fiat will walk and Chrysler will probably go under.

Maryann Keller is an automotive analyst. She says Fiat's 20 percent stake and small-car technology may not be enough to keep Chrysler alive.

Maryann Keller: The basic question is do you believe that Chrysler and Fiat, after I have made these concessions, can create a business that is going to be viable and worth something? I don't know that it is.

We'll see what Canadian autoworkers think this week.

I'm Caitlan Carroll for Marketplace.

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