THE United Auto Workers urged union members to report for work Tuesday even though they were not covered by a contract as negotiations continued after a midnight strike deadline passed. The union's contract extension with the Chrysler Corporation expired at midnight Monday, and the UAW was authorized to call a strike with no new contract settlement in place for the No. 3 automaker's 67,000 hourly workers. The union urged its members at Chrysler to show up for work as scheduled Tuesday.
UAW spokesman Frank Joyce characterized the pace of the talks at Chrysler's Highland Park headquarters as ``slow,'' and sources said the two sides were still far apart on major issues.
Chrysler's hourly employees have been working since Sept. 15 under an extension of a contract negotiated in 1988. Without a contract, the UAW could call a companywide walkout, or more likely, target specific Chrysler plants such as the minivan plant in Fenton, Mo., if a tentative accord is not reached.
The UAW is insisting that Chrysler follow the ``pattern'' agreement reached with industry leader General Motors Corporation last month, and at second-ranked Ford Motor Company early this month.
Late last week, Chrysler Canada signed a pact with the Canadian Auto Workers union in Toronto that follows the CAW contracts reached at the Canadian operations of GM and Ford. That fueled speculation that Chrysler would have to accept a similar deal on this side of the border.