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Chrysler, UAW Reach Settlement

Contract agreement comes nearly a month after original deadline.

by on Oct.12, 2011

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne with UAW President Bob King seen earlier this year.

Working well into the night, Chrysler and United Auto Workers Union negotiators hammered out a new contract for 26,000 hourly employees – nearly a month after the maker’s original labor contract was set to expire.

The deal makes the conclusion of this year’s round of bargaining for the Detroit makers – contract talks considered crucial to both labor and management.  Significantly, the talks steered clear of the angry rhetoric and confrontations that had seemed a traditional part of bargaining for the domestic manufacturers.

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While specific details of the Chrysler contract have yet to be released initial indications are that the settlement follows the pattern set last month by the UAW’s contract with General Motors, which would include a small “signing bonus,” improvements in profit sharing, some inflation protection and a modest increase in wages for new workers hired into a lower second tier.

But, notably, there will be no increase in base wages for its hourly workers.  And, overall, Chrysler is likely to have accepted little of an increase in its overall labor costs, which averaged just over $50 an hour going into this round of talks.