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UAW locals split on Chrysler deal


DETROIT — The fate of a tentative labor agreement at Chrysler LLC remained uncertain Sunday after two large United Auto Workers locals representing about 4,500 of the union's 45,000 members at the automaker split over the deal.    National UAW leaders appeared concerned about the fate of the agreement, asking all appointed union officials to sign a statement backing the deal.

The contract had already failed in ratification votes Friday and Saturday at Local 110 in Fenton, Mo.; Local 1183 in Newark, Del.; and Local 122 in Twinsburg. It failed again Sunday in a vote by members of UAW Local 7 at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit. About 57 percent of voters opposed the deal, the local said, declining to release the totals.

Jefferson North makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander and has about 2,200 UAW members.

But workers at a parts plant in suburban Syracuse, N.Y., bucked the trend Sunday, voting 88 percent in favor of the deal.

The vote at UAW Local 624 in DeWitt, N.Y., was 1,045-163 in favor. The local represents about 2,300 employees at Chrysler's New Process Gear plant.

"Those gentlemen have gotten us the best deal possible,'' said shop chairman George Welitschinsky. ``And let me tell you something, they are the best negotiators I've ever seen, and they take care of the UAW families; they take care of everybody's family.''

UAW and Chrysler bargainers reached the national agreement Oct. 10 after a six-hour strike. The deal came the same day the union announced that General Motors Corp. workers had approved a similar contract.

If Chrysler workers vote it down, negotiators must go back to the bargaining table. 

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