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Uaw, Chrysler Agree On Contract Gm Remains Only Automaker Of Big Three Without A Deal

The United Auto Workers union reached a tentative agreement Sunday with Chrysler on a new national contract, leaving General Motors as the only Big Three automaker still without a deal.

UAW President Stephen Yokich said the contract was similar to the one reached Sept. 16 with Ford, but he declined to release details pending a meeting with union leaders later this week.

The Ford contract is a three-year deal that guarantees the automaker will maintain at least 95 percent of its 105,025 UAW jobs. Yokich had indicated earlier that he thought the Ford contract should set an industry “pattern” that Chrysler and GM could endorse.

“Is there a pattern that’s been set? The answer’s yes,” Yokich said Sunday night.

The Ford deal also provides a $2,000 lump sum payment in the first year, followed by 3 percent raises in the second and third years.

Yokich appeared with Chrysler Chairman Robert Eaton at a news conference at the automaker’s world headquarters to announce the surprise agreement. As late as Friday, union and company officials had indicated the talks were still at the subcommittee stage.

But both sides said talks intensified over the weekend, even though there was no immediate threat of a strike.

“We never faced a strike deadline as such,” Eaton said. “We worked together very, very well. There was not a lot of emotion, but an awful lot of negotiation on both sides.”

Yokich, who has broken many UAW bargaining traditions in this round of Big Three talks, said the union recognized it needed to do things differently.

“We’re in a competitive market, a worldwide market,” he said.

Unlike at Ford, where bleary-eyed negotiators met nearly around the clock in the final weekend, Chrysler and UAW representatives met from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 10 a.m. until they reached agreement at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

The contract covers 66,126 Chrysler employees nationwide. Union members must vote to ratify the deal.

Chrysler earlier this month reached agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers.


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