Despite Split Vote, UAW Ratifies Chrysler Contract, Concludes Unusual Negotiations

Hours after United Auto Workers members reached an unprecedented split decision on whether to ratify a new contract with Chrysler, UAW president Bob King told PBS NewsHour there was no conflict within his ranks.

Asked about frustration following the split vote, he told host Jeffrey Brown, “You want to make – I’m sorry, but you seem like you want to make a rift where I don’t think there’s a rift.”

Watch UAW President Bob King on New Contracts: Top Priority Was Creating Jobs on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Earlier Wednesday, the UAW reported that 54.8 percent of hourly workers had voted in favor of ratifying a new contract with Chrysler, but that 55.6 percent of skilled-trade workers had voted against it, resulting in a split decision for the first time ever.

Nonetheless, UAW leaders met following the final tabulations and declared the contract had been ratified.

If skilled-trade workers had voted against the contract because of changes that specifically affected only their work, the UAW would have tried to renegotiate that portion, King told the Detroit Free Press. But “it was overwhelmingly clear that the issues were economic issues and not skilled-trade issues,” he said.

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