The United Auto Workers fell short in a bold effort to reach an agreements with both General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group as the union’s contracts with the two automakers expired at midnight.
The union push appears to have been hampered by lack of any kind of strike deadline and by a tactical decision that left Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne fuming.
Machionne, having blown off a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to fly back to Detroit from the Frankfurt Motor Show, was clearly irritated by UAW president Bob King’s decision to spend time in the talks at GM as discussions intensified and negotiating sessions stretched into the evening hours.
Because of continuing discussion with GM, King missed an appointment with Marchionne, who in a toughly worded letter accused the union of slipping back into an adversarial role. “We have known about this expirations date for a long time,” Marchionne wrote.
The missed appointment could delay a settlement at Chrysler by as much as a week.