DETROIT (AP) – Tomorrow’s strike deadline set by the United Auto Workers may be a tactic to get Chrysler LLC to give a little more.
It also makes one thing abundantly clear: Chrysler isn’t going to just agree to the same contract terms as General Motors Corp.
As negotiations stretched into yesterday night at Chrysler’s Auburn Hills headquarters, several industry analysts said Chrysler’s needs are different than GM’s, so it requires a different deal with cost cuts in different places.
The union may have set the strike deadline for its 49,000 hourly workers because of how far Chrysler bargainers want to go in demanding cost cuts.
“We think that they may be holding out for something more than GM got,” said Aaron Bragman, an industry analyst for the consulting firm Global Insight.
The UAW went on strike for nearly two days last month before coming to a tentative agreement with GM on Sept. 26.
Workers with the nation’s largest automaker are expected to wrap up voting on the agreement by tomorrow.
The union normally settles with one U.S. automaker and then uses that deal as a pattern for an agreement with the other two.
Among the differences this time, analysts say, are health care givebacks granted to GM and Ford Motor Co. in 2005 that Chrysler didn’t get, which are worth approximately $340 million a year.
A person briefed on the negotiations said the two sides have not agreed on giving the same deal to Chrysler.
The person requested anonymity because the talks are private.
Higher health care costs are one major reason why Chrysler pays its workers an average of $75.86 per hour in wages, pension and health care costs, among the highest with regards to Detroit automakers.
A short strike might not hurt Chrysler much.
Five U.S. plants were scheduled to be shut down during the next two weeks due to lower market demand for their products.