UAW reaches tentative deal with Chrysler

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DETROIT, Oct 11 (Reuters) The United Auto Workers union said that it had reached a tentative labor agreement with Chrysler LLC ending a strike against the automaker on the same day it began.

The UAW said in a statement it was calling off the strike against Chrysler effective immediately. The union said the tentative agreement would protect wages, pensions and health care for UAW-represented Chrysler workers and retirees.

Details were not immediately available.

The deal now faces ratification by Chrysler's almost 49,000 UAW-represented workers.

The surprise settlement capped a dramatic showdown between the union and newly private Chrysler under the ownership of private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

The UAW called a strike at 11 a.m. ET when a marathon bargaining session failed to produce an agreement by a deadline it had set earlier.

Some analysts had expected the gap between the two sides on key issues such as health care and job security to lead to a relatively long strike that would have also helped Chrysler run down some unsold inventory.

Instead, the union said the strike had been called off just over six hours after it began.

That marked a faster settlement for Chrysler than the labor deal the UAW concluded with General Motors Corp last month to cap a two-day strike.

''This agreement was made possible because UAW workers made it clear to Chrysler that we needed an agreement that rewards the contributions they have made to the success of this company,'' said Gettelfinger.

David Cole, chairman of Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said it would be important to see how the Chrysler deal differed from the one the union struck with GM.

''I don't think the union would sign anything unless it has what they needed,'' he said.

The short strike may have helped spark the quick settlement, he said.

''Sometimes it is necessary to raise the focus a little bit as getting this kind of contract ratified is very difficult,'' Cole said.

Reuters DKS VP0440

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