Chrysler pentastarEnlarge Photo
While you were getting hammered at some weekend music festival or cleaning out the garage, bigwigs from Chrysler and the United Auto Workers union were busy getting to know one another--and by "getting know one another", we mean haggling. As you may know, the feds set an April 30 deadline for Chrysler to submit a viable plan for survival, lest the company's chits be called in and the pentastar get hurled into bankruptcy court. Union concessions are key to that plan, and without them, both sides lose.
Details of the back-and-forth haven't been released, but the New York Times used the terms "painful" and claimed that the concessions require "extraordinary sacrifices" on the part of union members "to help Chrysler become viable". Which is classic, Team-Building 101 language if we've ever heard it: make the little guys feel like heroes. Not that we're complaining--hell, if UAW leadership doesn't bring its members onboard ASAP, the whole deal could go belly up.
Between this agreement with the union--assuming it gets signed--and Chrysler's negotiations with Fiat--assuming the Italian automaker is still onboard--Chrysler should have a reasonable shot at surviving this economic crisis. Heck, compared to the bloodletting that's going on at General Motors, Chrysler's problems almost seem like a walk in the park. More from both imperiled companies later today--stay tuned.