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UAW ratifies concessions to Chrysler
Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:51am BST


DETROIT - United Auto Workers members overwhelmingly approved a concessions deal with struggling U.S. carmaker Chrysler that includes a pledge for Fiat SpA's small car production at one of their plants, the union said on Wednesday.

The contract changes were approved by 82 percent of the production workers and 80 percent of skilled trades workers and will take effect Monday, the union said in a statement.


Chrysler and the union reached a tentative deal earlier this week on the agreement, which covers about 26,800 U.S. hourly workers. Voting concluded on Wednesday.

Chrysler, 80 percent-controlled by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, has until the end of Thursday to conclude deals to slash its debt and labour costs, and consummate an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat.

Failure to do so would mean the company will not have access to further emergency U.S. government funding and possibly face bankruptcy.

Chrysler was in last-ditch talks with a fractious group of lenders to try to cut its debt and avoid a bankruptcy filing, and U.S. President Barack Obama had said it was still not clear if the automaker would need bankruptcy protection to move ahead with the planned alliance with Fiat.

The UAW said its ratified agreement meets the U.S. Treasury requirements for continued government loans. Fiat also signed off on the agreement, which would give the UAW a 55 percent stake in the automaker and Fiat an eventual 35 percent stake.

"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 President Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement.

Chrysler Vice Chairman Tom LaSorda said in a statement the ratification enabled the company to "to continue our work to meet the conditions laid out by the U.S. Treasury Department."

The contract includes a method for making payments into a union-aligned healthcare trust for retirees as well as allowing Chrysler to pay half of its obligations in stock.

With the ratification vote at Chrysler, the UAW can now turn towards completing negotiations with General Motors over concessions needed for the largest U.S. carmaker to satisfy government-ordered cost cutting demands.

Chrysler's 8,000 Canadian Auto Workers union-represented workers have already ratified a new concessionary deal.

Article:UAW ratifies concessions to Chrysler | Top News | Reuters
 

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Chrysler LLC Statement

Chrysler LLC Statement in Response to UAW Ratification of Contract

Auburn Hills, Mich. , Apr 29, 2009 -

Chrysler LLC Statement in Response to UAW Ratification of Contract, Attributed to Tom LaSorda, Vice Chairman and President:

“We are thankful to the Chrysler UAW members for their support in ratifying this contract, especially during these challenging times. This was a necessary step as we move forward in revitalizing this great Company. Today's vote enables us to continue our work to meet the conditions laid out by the U. S. Treasury Department. The entire Chrysler leadership team believes in and appreciates the men and women that make up our great workforce worldwide."
 
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