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Published: Friday, 8/17/2012

Union workers reject pact at Chrysler's Dundee plant


DUNDEE, Mich. -- Union workers at Chrysler Group LLC's Dundee Engine Plant have rejected a contract offer, but employees are still on the job.

As part of the 2009 bankruptcy and government bailout of Chrysler, UAW-represented workers agreed not to strike Chrysler. Each UAW-represented plant has its own contract covering specific local issues, in addition to the national four-year contract that Chrysler workers approved last fall.

The Detroit News reported that 73 percent of the workers at the Dundee plant rejected the contract. Voting was held Tuesday and Wednesday.

"I don't know what happened. I thought we had a good, win-win contract," Tom Zimmerman, plant chairman for Local 723, which represents workers at the factory, told the News. "I'm bracing for the fallout."

For now, production of the engines will continue, Chrysler spokesman Jodi Tinson said.

"We bargained in good faith and we had [a] tentative agreement with the UAW we expected to be ratified," Ms. Tinson said. "It's now in the UAW's court to figure out what happened and to chart another course."

The engines made in Dundee are used in various Chrysler models, including the recently launched Dodge Dart and the Fiat 500. Both of those are small cars with deeper design and engineering links to Chrysler's majority owner, Italy's Fiat SpA, than other Chrysler models.

Chrysler said the plant has 581 hourly workers and 107 salaried workers represented by the UAW.

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