UAW/Chrysler contract ratified - phew!

After a considerable number of plants had rejected it, the new four-year contract between the UAW and Chrysler LLC has finally been ratified. Despite late surges of approval from a number of plants, the voting was still very close. The UAW reports that the contract was approved by 56% of production workers, 51% of skilled trades workers, 94% of office and clerical workers and 79% of engineers represented by the UAW. You'll remember that the contract came at the conclusion of a 6-hour token strike on October 10th. It includes a union-run VEBA account to handle retiree benefits in the future, as well as a two-tier wage system similar to the one proposed by General Motors in its new contract with the union. One major difference between the two contracts, however, is that Chrysler did not give guarantees to the union concerning where its future products may be built. These promises were made by GM, and their exclusion from the Chrysler contract is thought to be the biggest reason why it almost didn't pass the rank and file vote.

Now it's on to negotiations with Ford, which have been happening quietly in the background this whole time. If the UAW's negotiations with Chrysler are anything to go by, we might expect an end to discussions and the threat of a strike as soon as Monday if a tentative agreement doesn't come sooner.

[Source: The Detroit News]

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