Local Union Leaders Endorse Bargainers’ Efforts to End Strike
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ Union leaders representing 70,000 striking Chrysler Corp. workers gave a vote of confidence Saturday to United Auto Workers President Owen Bieber in his effort to end their 4-day-old walkout.
Meanwhile, United Auto Workers of Canada leader Robert White met in New York for 11/2 hours Saturday with Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca. White said the meeting produced progress toward ending the walkout by 10,000 workers in that country, and Chrysler officials said the pace of negotiations was picking up.
″It wasn’t a wasted trip,″ White said after his return to Toronto, where negotiations resumed.
Those attending a 75-minute meeting of the 170-member UAW Chrysler Council said they were given few details during about the talks with Chrysler. They ended the session with a standing ovation for Bieber, said Noel Blevins of UAW Local 371 in New Castle, Ind.
″The council gave us full support for going back to negotiations,″ Bieber said. ″The council unanimously voted to support us, to support the bargaining committee.″
Both Canadian and U.S. workers struck Wednesday when their contracts expired.
U.S. negotiations were scheduled to resume Monday at Chrysler headquarters in Highland Park, Mich.
When the talks broke off Friday afternoon, Bieber said, ″We are still far apart on a number of key issues.″
He said unsettled issues included profit sharing, job security and ″full economic parity″ with workers at General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.
Bieber also put new emphasis on a demand he called ″something special.″ He gave no details, but union officials said the reference was to a large lump-sum payment.
Tom Neal, who represented UAW Local 1435 of Toledo, Ohio, at the council meeting, said establishment of limits on Chrysler’s subcontracting to outside companies is ″the major issue as far as we’re concerned.″
″Outsourcing is one of the items that has not been resolved,″ Bieber said Saturday.
As the strikes dragged on, smaller Chrysler suppliers have begun slowing their production and laying off workers. Layoffs have hit quickly because of the auto industry’s conversion to inventory systems in which parts are delivered to the factories only as needed.
Also, Chrysler buys more of its parts from outside suppliers than the other major carmakers. The UAW claims 70 percent of Chrysler’s parts are not built in house.