Chrysler UAW Members Voting on Contract
DETROIT (AP) _ Ratification voting is under way for 63,000 Chrysler Corp. workers on a three-year contract with the United Auto Workers union.
The voting period opened Wednesday and results must be reported to the UAW’s headquarters in Detroit by Nov. 18. The union said it would not issue partial results.
Balloting at one of Chrysler’s most profitable factories, a minivan assembly plant in St. Louis, won’t be held until Nov. 17, however, a union official said Thursday.
A special part of the UAW-Chrysler contract deals just with the minivan plant, and officials said more time was needed to give details to the workers. Under the special provision, workers would change from two production shifts to three.
Officials expect Chrysler workers nationwide to ratify the pact and close the final chapter of this year’s UAW-Big Three negotiations.
UAW contracts with General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. were ratified by ratios of better than 4-to-1. Terms of the Chrysler-UAW contract are essentially the same as the contracts the union signed last month with GM and Ford.
In all, more than 450,000 active auto workers are covered by UAW-negotiated agreements with the Big Three.
The St. Louis factory is one of two Chrysler plants making one of its most profitable vehicles. The other is in Windsor, Ontario.
Chrysler, which as recently as the mid-1980s sold more minivans than all other automakers combined, needs the extra supply to fight off competitors eating away at its share of the popular segment of the U.S. vehicle market.
An increase in minivan sales also would prop up Chrysler’s slumping profits. Last week, the No. 3 automaker reported it lost $214 million in the third quarter, and there has been speculation among Wall Street analysts that the company may end 1990 in the red.
There are about 3,500 union members at the St. Louis II minivan factory.
″We just got the (contract) highlights out to the people today,″ Ray Ramsey, financial secretary of UAW Local 110 at the St. Louis II plant, said Thursday. ″This weekend is just too short a notice.″
The contract would change scheduling at the plant from a two-shift operation to three shifts in July 1991 with the company having an option of adding two nine-hour shifts on Saturdays.
Elsewhere, the voting process appeared to go smoothly.
″Most of the stewards say it’s flying good down here,″ Richard McDonaugh, president of UAW Local 1183 at Chrysler’s Newark, Del., assembly plant, said Thursday. His local plans to vote next week.