Chrysler, Union Reach Tentative Accord

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Chrysler Corp. and union workers reached a tentative settlement Saturday that could end a three-day strike at the plant where most of the automaker’s windshields and windows are manufactured.

Nearly 1,000 members of UAW, Local 227 went on strike Wednesday at the McGraw Glass Plant, largely over job security.

The UAW wanted Chrysler to spend millions of dollars on new technology so the plant would be competitive with independent suppliers and remain in operation.

All but two of Chrysler’s North American assembly plants rely on McGraw for car and truck windshields and windows.


Supplies had begun to dwindle, but no plants had closed and production was not slowed, Chrysler spokeswoman Nicole Solomon said.

Solomon said the agreement was scheduled to be presented to union members for a vote this morning. If it is approved, employees will begin returning to work this afternoon. Both sides declined to disclose details.

“They pretty much had things together last night and went back in and put the finishing touches on it earlier today,” union spokesman Bob Barbee said Saturday. Barbee said workers would continue to picket outside the plant until union members approve an agreement.

Under the “just-in-time” supply system used by Chrysler, the glass components are produced and shipped as they are needed by the assembly plants. That means the plants will have to stop building vehicles when they exhaust the supply on hand.

On Friday it appeared that Chrysler had stockpiled enough in the weeks leading up to the walkout to keep its assembly plants running through the weekend.

Solomon said the plant would be fully staffed by Monday if the agreement is ratified.

Workers at the McGraw plant had threatened a strike earlier this year over worries that Chrysler would sell the plant.

The company said in April that it would not, but has continued discussions that could lead to a joint venture with PPG Industries, an independent glassmaker.