DETROIT (Reuters) - United Auto Workers President Bob King told Chrysler plant union leaders on Monday that he hopes the union and Chrysler Group LLC can reach a deal on a new four-year contract by Wednesday, a source said.
King and General Holiefield, lead UAW negotiator in the Chrysler negotiations, told union plant leaders that they had originally hoped to have a tentative deal in place by Monday morning, the source said.
Despite intense negotiations over the weekend, no deal was reached and King told the group that another meeting would be held on Wednesday morning, and that he hopes to present the union leaders with a proposed pact at that time, according to the person familiar with Monday's meeting.
As a result of Chrysler's 2009 bankruptcy and federal government bailout, the union cannot strike Chrysler on contract terms. If an impasse is reached, the issue would go to binding arbitration, a process that could take months.
King did not mention the possibility of arbitration in the Monday meeting, the person said. King said as recently as last week that he wants to avoid arbitration.
Chrysler is driving a hard bargain with the union, those familiar with the talks say, as the No. 3 U.S. automaker is under more pressure than General Motors Co <GM.N> and Ford Motor Co <F.N> to keep costs in check because of its weaker financial position.
Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has said that Chrysler should not have to take as expensive a contract as did Ford and GM.
"Some of the deals that we've seen being signed between Ford and GM (with the UAW) are probably, given Chrysler's own predicament ... overly generous," Marchionne said on Friday.
The UAW's talks with Chrysler began in late July, but stalled last month as Chrysler pushed for a more concessionary deal than its Detroit rivals.
GM's rank-and-file ratified its new four-year deal with the UAW late last month. Ford and the union announced a tentative deal on October 4 and its rank-and-file are voting on ratification this week.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall, editing by Matthew Lewis)