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UAW and Chrysler will not reopen contract.

The United Auto Workers formally asked Chrysler Corp. to reopen their contract for the purpose of regaining compensation parity and returning to the smae bargaining cycle as General Motors and Ford Motor Co. However, back-and-forth communications between the parties finally resulted in a decision to not bargain early. (The UAW--Chrysler contract does not include a specific provision for reopening negotiations and is not scheduled to expire until October 15, 1985.) The disparity began to develop in 1979, when Chrysler employees negotiated the first of several concessionary contracts to aid the company in overcoming its financial difficulties. In 1982 and 1983 settlements at Chrysler, the disparity was narrowed, but at the time of the reopening request, Chrysler workers were still earning about $1 an hour less than employees of the other companies, and they were not covered by job and income security plans equal to those at GM and Ford.

Chrysler rebuffed the union's request for a reopening because the union wanted to set a deadline for completing the talks, backed by the right to strike. However, Chrysler did offer to discuss modification of the pay and benefit provisions of the contract, despite its contention that matching Ford's and GM's pay and benefit levels would result in labor costs higher at Chrysler than those at GM and Ford because of a higher proportion of retired employees drawing pensions and medical benefits at Chrysler.

The union responded to Chrysler's decision by calling for a meeting of its Chrysler Council, composed of 150 local union officials. At the meeting, the union leaders decided not to accept Chrysler's offer because of the lack of the strike weapon. As a result, bargaining will not start until August 1985.
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Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Feb 1, 1985
Previous Article:Settlement reached in GM parts plants.
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