With negotiations at Ford wrapped up, the United Auto Workers Union is turning its attention to what is potentially its most difficult target — Chrysler – but after faltering shortly before the original September 14 deadline there are growing concerns that the two sides may be deadlocked, forcing them to turn to binding arbitration as required by Chrysler’s 2009 federal bailout.
Hoping to push past the current impasse, UAW president Bob King has finally joined the negotiations, which are underway at Chrysler headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, setting the stage for several days of intense bargaining.
Chrysler has been threatening the union with arbitration – which was set as a requirement since the bailout barred a strike over economic issues.
The union, however, tried to defuse the threat by going to Ford for the second contract after setting a tentative pattern agreement at General Motors, last month.
Complicating matters, the company and union have yet to agree on an arbitrator. Arbitration ultimately could take several months to resolve, postponing a final settlement until sometime next year.