Sometimes it doesn't pay to be last. After a very narrow ratification of Ford's healthcare deal and waves of discord rippling through the UAW ranks, speculation abounds that DaimlerChrysler will be a victim of politics. The automaker, which expects to wrap up talks with union leaders in February, has some strong anti-ratification sentiment among its union members, and after the heat UAW leaders have taken over GM and Ford lately, DCX might just find itself to be the sacrificial lamb for union leadership to win back support within the UAW. Of course, UAW boss Ron Gettelfinger says they're required to hear Chrysler out in the interests of pattern bargaining, but it remains to be seen whether the grassroots efforts to vote down the health care deals will finally emerge victorious.

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