Contract talks between the United Auto Workers union and Chrysler resume Tuesday morning. That’s after after negotiators were unable to reach a deal over the weekend.
The UAW has asked its local presidents to come to Detroit on Wednesday. That could mean an agreement is imminent.
But the talks between Detroit’s smallest, least profitable carmaker and the union have been emotionally charged and difficult. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne fired off an angry letter to UAW President Bob King on September 14th, accusing King of letting down Chrysler workers, by choosing to meet with GM negotiators that day rather than him.
Marchionne also said that a several-dollar-an-hour wage increase for entry-level workers in GM's ratified and Ford's tentative contract could be "overly generous" for Chrysler's situation.
Either side could demand binding arbitration if talks stall, and Marchionne has threatened to do just that. But Kristin Dziczek, an analyst with the Center for Automotive Research, thinks it's unlikely.
"Although that is a weapon in their arsenal, I don’t know that either side really wants to use it because of the unknown outcome and the unknown timeframe," says Dzickek.
GM workers ratified a new four-year contract last week by a two-to-one margin. Most Ford workers vote on a tentative contract by the end of this week.