Though the UAW hopes to use its agreement with GM as a template for one with Chrysler, there are additional factors to consider. First and foremost is the fact that Chrysler was not given concessions on retiree health care back in 2005 that were given to both GM and Ford. Even if a VEBA account like the one in the UAW-GM contract is agreed upon, chances are retirees will be forced to accept concessions in their level of coverage to make up for the slight two years ago.
Of course, everyone is curious how well Chrysler's new owner, Cerberus Capital Management, is working with the UAW during these negotiations. Current Co-Vice Chairman of Chrysler, Tom LaSorda, who has seen his title dwindle down from CEO since the purchase, has an opportunity to shine in this talks. Handling negotiations with the UAW is part of his new job description, and considering Chrysler's stumble in the marketplace under his stewardship, now would be a good time for him to prove his worth to Cerberus.
[Source: Bloomberg, The Detroit News]