Thousands of members of the United Automobile Workers union walked off the job at two Chrysler factories this morning after the two sides failed to meet a deadline the union set for a new contract. Talks continued despite the strike, which came on the heels of a two-day walkout at GM facilities in September.
What the commentators said
“The impact of the strike will likely be minimal,” said Shawn Langlois in MarketWatch, as long as it “lasts only a few days.” Five Chrysler factories are already scheduled for down time this week.
It might be tough getting the union to budge, said Tim Higgins in the Detroit Free Press. Cerberus Capital Management—the private-equity firm that bought Chrysler from Daimler—wants “health care concessions” similar to the ones the UAW gave General Motors. But GM’s deal builds on concessions the union granted GM and Ford in 2005. Chrysler didn’t get that deal—it was better off financially back then—and that “complicates” the negotiations.
The negotiations are “testing the mettle” of “Cerberus’ “Wall Street elite,” said Nat Worden in TheStreet.com. They promised to support the union when they took over, but an extended strike will cost them dearly. But there’s time. In fact, a short strike might actually help Cerberus cut Chrysler’s bloated inventory—one of its goals as it tries to cut costs and restore profits.