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Virtually all UAW Members Ratify Chrysler Settlement Agreement. President Obama Speaks at Noon About the Company’s Future

Only bondholders remain in the way of a last minute reprive of the company.

by on Apr.29, 2009

"Our members have responded by accepting an agreement that is painful for our active and retired workers, but which helps preserve U.S. manufacturing jobs and gives Chrysler a chance to survive."

"Our members have responded by accepting an agreement that is painful for our active and retired workers, but which helps preserve U.S. manufacturing jobs and gives Chrysler a chance to survive."

UAW members at Chrysler have overwhelmingly ratified a settlement agreement with Chrysler, Fiat and the U.S. Treasury that will allow the restructuring of the ailing company to go ahead.

The remaining obstruction to a reorganized Chrysler this morning are hedge funds that hold its virtually worthless secured debt. The four largest banks, holding 70% of the debt have already agreed to the proposed swap, but it appears that all of the bondholders must go along, and small ones are refusing to do so.

The funds are expected to try and hold out until the last possible minute – midnight tonight – of the deadline imposed by the Auto Task Force. But President Obama is due to speak at noon today, an indication that the administration is willing to act forcefully and move on. If agreement is not reached by then, the U.S. government is prepared to put Chrysler in receivership and provide funding until Chrysler’s assets can reassigned to a new company that would then go on.

With the approval of a new contract, union workers are putting their jobs on the line, saying they are willing to take the risk that a new, new Chrysler can survive and ultimately thrive.

Eighty-two percent of production workers, and 80% of skilled-trades workers voted for the agreement in balloting that took place at UAW Chrysler locations throughout the United States. Ninety percent of office and clerical workers voted in favor of the agreement, and 94% of UAW-represented Chrysler engineering workers voted for approval.

“This has been a challenging time filled with anxiety and uncertainty for our membership,” said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. “Our members have responded by accepting an agreement that is painful for our active and retired workers, but which helps preserve U.S. manufacturing jobs and gives Chrysler a chance to survive.”

UAW Vice President General Holiefield, who directs the union’s Chrysler Department, said: “Once again, UAW members have stepped up to the plate and acted responsibly. If other stakeholders will join us in making difficult sacrifices, Chrysler will have a chance to rebuild and participate in the eventual recovery of the U.S. vehicle market.”

The concessionary settlement agreement, which will take effect this Monday, May 4, meets U.S. Treasury requirements for continued loans to Chrysler Corporation. It includes modifications to the union’s 2007 collective bargaining agreement with Chrysler and modifications to the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) trust.

The settlement agreement includes commitments from Fiat to manufacture a new small car in one of Chrysler’s U.S. facilities, and to share key technology with Chrysler.

The people who make the vehicles have taken the biggest losses in this ongoing tragedy.

 

Chrysler LLC employment-Dec. 31, 2006

Location          Hourly              Salary              Supp.              Total
U.S.                 45,186             18,602             4,301            68,089
Canada             9,921               1,082                 127            11,130
Mexico              5,040               1,351                   60               6,451
R.O.W.                      0                  802                 472               1,274
Total               60,949             21,507             4,488             86,944

Chrysler LLC employment-Dec. 31, 2008

Location          Hourly              Salary             Supp.               Total
U.S.                 26,801             10,691             765                38,257
Canada             8,652                   692               54                  9,398
Mexico              3,862               1,038               26                  4,926
R.O.W,                     0                    896             530                 1,426
Total               40,211             12,951             845                54,007

 

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