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Next up for UAW: Chrysler

Alisa Roth Oct 8, 2007


Scott Jagow: United Auto Workers walked off the job at GM last month. The strike lasted two days, then GM and the UAW agreed on a new contract.

Now, it’s Chrysler’s turn. Word this morning is that the UAW has given Chrysler until tomorrow or Wednesday to make a deal. Either way, that’s not a lot of time. Alisa Roth has more.

Alisa Roth: The talks are supposed to be secret, so neither Chrysler nor the UAW will comment. But if the reports are true, Chrysler has just a couple of days to settle on a contract with UAW.

Erich Merkle is an auto industry consultant:

Erich Merkle: The whole purpose of that would be to force or to push Chrysler toward accepting the deal that was already agreed to between GM and the UAW.

If the two sides can’t come to an agreement by the deadline, the contract could be extended hour-by-hour. Or workers could strike.

Merkle says the problem is GM and Chrysler are in very different positions. GM is saddled with, among other things, massive health care costs for its many retirees. Chrysler has fewer retirees to reckon with, and was recently bought by a private equity firm.

And it might not matter much anyway if the union did strike against Chrysler.
The company’s already having to idle plants, because it has too many vehicles in its inventory.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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