Chrysler, UAW make slight headway in contract talks

By , Labor correspondent of the Christian Science Monitor

Contract talks between the Chrysler Corporation and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have reached a critical stage and either a settlement or a recess in negotiations until January can be expected this week.

Some progress in negotiations has been made in both the US and Canada. However, Chrylser chairman Lee A. Iacocca has warned that an agreement must be reached and ratified within the next few days, or negotiations will be suspended for the holidays.

Canadian workers struck on Nov. 5 after the firm rejected workers' demands for an immediate pay increase. In the US, UAW Chrysler workers turned down on Oct. 18 a proposed contract without such an increase, but voted to remain at work and resume bargaining in Janurary.

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Talks in the US resumed earlier because of the impact of the Canadian strike on Chrysler operations here. Some 4,600 of 43,000 Chrysler workers in the US have been laid off and more are facing furloughs. During the past week, UAW offered to sign a two-year rather than a one-year pact, provided Chrysler grants an immediate pay increase instead of future increases tied to company profits. Chrysler indicated a willingness to ''restructure'' its previous offer.

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