DETROIT (AP) – Workers at three more United Auto Workers locals have rejected a tentative contract agreement between the union and Chrysler LLC, casting doubt on whether the deal will be ratified.

Members at locals in Missouri, Ohio and Delaware voted against the deal Friday and Saturday even as union leaders from Detroit spent the later part of the week lobbying for yes votes.

The contract failed Saturday at Local 110 in Fenton, Mo., one of Chrysler’s largest, with 2,781 hourly workers at the South Assembly Plant. The vote was surprising because the plant makes Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan minivans, which are brand new for 2008 and expected to be top sellers, providing job security for several years.

A recording at the Local 110 union hall said Saturday that 66 percent of skilled trades workers voted against the contract, while 79 percent of nonskilled workers opposed it. It didn’t give the number of workers who voted.

Although final totals from the 45,000 workers voting on the pact won’t be made known until next week, the size and locations of the locals voting no are not good signs for leaders in Detroit, said Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who specializes in labor issues.

“The early results are abysmal,” Shaiken said. “Members have sent a message of considerable unrest.”

If the contract is rejected by UAW members, it would be the first time in at least two decades that has happened, Shaiken said.

The agreement was reached Oct. 10 after a six-hour strike, 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.

The UAW said negotiators were able to fend off the company’s demand for wage cuts of $1.01 per hour and cost-of-living adjustment delays, according to a booklet summarizing the deal. They also saved about 1,500 jobs at the Toledo, Ohio, machining plant, which was slated to close.

But 14 of 21 factories listed in the booklet have no future products to make after the current product life cycle or the life of the new contract. Seven were to get future products.

Richard McDonaugh Jr., president of Local 1183 at Chrysler’s Newark, Del., assembly plant, said Saturday that the contract failed at his local by a vote a 54 percent to 46 percent. The local represents 1,100 hourly UAW members.

The council, made up of presidents and other local officials from across the country, approved the deal on a voice vote Monday at a meeting in Detroit.

Another local, 122, which represents 1,515 workers at the Twinsburg, Ohio, stamping plant, voted against the contract, local President Charles Spencer told the Detroit Free Press. He said 53 percent of the votes were against the deal.

On Friday, Local 961 in Detroit rejected the contract 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent, said Ed May, local president. The local, which did not make vote totals available, represents 1,380 hourly UAW members.

Other locals were still voting Saturday, and results were not available.

The Chrysler contract suffered its first major defeat Thursday, when a local representing 2,100 workers in suburban St. Louis rejected the pact. Union officials said workers at that truck plant in Fenton also were bothered by the contract’s creation of core and noncore workers.

But not everyone opposes the deal. Workers at plants in Kenosha, Wis., Trenton, and Toledo, Ohio also approved the deal.


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