Fiat Chrysler, UAW at Table as Strike Looms

Reuters

As the threat of a strike hangs over them, negotiators from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the United Auto Workers union continued to meet on Wednesday morning, a union spokesman said.

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The U.S. union on Tuesday called for a strike against Fiat Chrysler's U.S. operations at 11:59 p.m. ET (03:59 GMT Wednesday) unless a new agreement on a four-year contract is reached or there is movement toward one.

The spokesman would not offer details of the talks including whether the company was willing to sweeten the deal it offered the UAW that was approved Sept. 18 by the union leaders but rejected last week by 65 percent of its rank-and-file Fiat Chrysler membership.

The company's U.S. production plants are concentrated in the U.S. Midwest, in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

The last time the UAW called a strike against Detroit automakers who currently make up about 37 percent of the union's membership, was in 2007 at Chrysler and General Motors.

General Motors and Chrysler were prohibited from striking until this year as part of the 2009 agreement with the U.S. government that arguably saved the companies from extinction.

An auto industry analyst, using an estimated profit per vehicle of about $1,100 in the first half of the year, estimated that Fiat Chrysler could lose $40 million of operating profit and at least $1 billion of revenue weekly in a strike of all its U.S. production plants.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall)