Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chrysler, CAW set May 14 deadline for talks

Officials from Chrysler LLC and the Canadian Auto Workers will negotiate until 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, to reach an early agreement on a three-year contract.

Chrysler and General Motors entered early talks with the CAW after Ford Motor Co. and the union shocked the industry by reaching an early agreement May 4.

CAW talks were scheduled to begin in mid-July for a contract to replace the deal that expires at midnight Sept. 16.

"They're saying the (Chrysler) package is much richer for them than it was for Ford, applying their demographics," said CAW President Buzz Hargrove. "But they haven't said they won't meet it."

If the two sides haven't reached an agreement by 6 p.m. Wednesday, they will decide whether they've made enough progress and can work quickly to resolve differences.

If not, negotiations could revert to the traditional timetable. Talks had been scheduled to begin with all three automakers on July 16.

Hargrove said the CAW needs a commitment on what Chrysler plans to make in its assembly plants in Brampton and Windsor, Ontario, and a casting plant in Etobicoke, Ontario.

The Ford-CAW agreement does not include a two-tier wage agreement such as the deals the Detroit automakers reached with the UAW last year.

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