Optimism in car talks – Metro US

Optimism in car talks

Talks between Chrysler and the Canadian Auto Workers are progressing and the union and officials in the Canadian and Ontario governments said Thursday a deal was close at hand.

Federal Industry Minister Tony Cle­ment and Ontario Economic Development Minister Michael Bryant both said several steps need to be completed before governments in Canada and the United States will agree to give Chrysler the long-term bailout loans it has requested, but added that one important step — an agreement with the CAW — seemed to be near.

The Globe and Mail’s online edition reported the two parties were within $1 to $2 of cutting labour costs by the $19 per hour that Chrysler had said was necessary to stay competitive as of late Thursday morning.

A CAW spokes­man could not confirm the report.

This would represent a significant reversal for the CAW, which had previously insisted it would stick to the pattern established in an earlier agreement with General Motors, which cut that company’s labour costs by about $7 per hour.

Bryant said he spoke Thursday morning with both CAW president Ken Lewenza and management at Chrysler.

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