DETROIT (AP) _ Chrysler Corp. will try to cut costs in a new contract with the United Auto Workers union, while the UAW will push for improved job security and profit- sharing, negotiators for both sides say.

Among the top items on the No. 3 automaker's negotiating agenda are more employee-management programs. The UAW also will demand a halt to layoffs unless there is a sales slump.

The company has offered an early start to negotiations this year, when a three-year contract with the UAW expires. The union's 190-member Chrysler Council is to meet Thursday and may decide whether to accept the company's offer.

The Chrysler-UAW contract, which covers 71,700 workers, expires Sept. 14.

UAW Vice President Marc Stepp, who heads the union's Chrysler Department, said the union will demand that profit-sharing be based on annual earnings, as it is at Ford Motor Co. On Tuesday, Ford distributed profit-sharing checks averaging $3,700 apiece to its unionized employees.

Stepp also said the union was seeking job-protection language similar to UAW contracts at Ford and General Motors Corp. Those three-year contracts, negotiated last year, forbid layoffs unless there is a sales slump, put stronger restrictions on work performed outside the company and a 3 percent general wage increase in the first year and lump sum payments in the following two years.

''We won't take anything less than GM and Ford,'' Stepp said.