Chrysler auto workers walk out of plants and factories - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Chrysler auto workers walk out of plants and factories

By DEE-ANN DURBIN and TOM KRISHER
AP Auto Writers

DETROIT (AP) - Thousands of Chrysler LLC autoworkers started to walk off the job Wednesday after the automaker and the United Auto Workers union failed to settle on a tentative contract agreement before a union-imposed deadline.

It would be the first UAW strike against Chrysler since 1997, when one plant was shut down for a month, and the first strike against Chrysler during contract talks since 1985.

There was no immediate official word from the union or Chrysler after the late morning deadline passed on whether it was a nationwide strike.

The UAW, which must reach new four-year agreements with all three Detroit automakers, struck General Motors Corp. for two days before agreeing on a tentative pact with the automaker on Set. 26.

The union hasn't yet settled with Ford Motor Co. Chrysler has 24 U.S. manufacturing facilities, including 10 assembly plants, but not all would be affected by a strike.

The automaker had already planned to idle five assembly plants and some factories that make parts for short stretches during the next two weeks in an effort to adjust its inventory to a slowing U.S. automotive market.

A short strike would likely have little effect on the automaker, which had a 71-day supply of cars and trucks on dealer lots at the end of August, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank.

A walkout longer than a month would start to cut into sales, said Paul Taylor, chief economist with the National Automobile Dealers Association.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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