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Chrysler union plans concession talks

Associated Press / March 23, 2009
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TORONTO - The Canadian Auto Workers union said it plans to begin talks today with Chrysler LLC on possible worker concessions.

Automakers seeking Canadian federal and Ontario provincial government support must reach cost-cutting agreements before March 31 to qualify for the money.

The CAW reached a deal with General Motors Corp. March 8; workers ratified it March 11.

"Getting to the bargaining table with Chrysler has taken longer than expected," union president Ken Lewenza said. "But the CAW fully expects to get the process back on track and work toward reaching an agreement with Chrysler that will secure jobs here in Canada."

The Canadian union wants Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. to agree to the same terms.

But Chrysler and Ford have said the GM concessions don't go far enough.

Ford isn't seeking Canadian or US government aid. But it wants to renegotiate its CAW labor agreement to be more competitive. The CAW represents about 8,000 workers at Chrysler plants and offices in Windsor, Ontario, Brampton, Ontario, and Toronto.

In the United States, talks involving GM, Chrysler, and the United Auto Workers union reportedly are going slowly because of a lack of a deal on concessions by debtholders.

GM and Chrysler are nearing a March 31 deadline to get concessions from the union and debtholders as they try to finish restructuring plans required under the terms of their US government loans.

GM and Chrysler are living on $17.4 billion in US government loans and have requested $21.6 billion more.

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