It is the first UAW strike against Chrysler since 1997, when one plant was shut down for a month, and the first strike against Chrysler during contract talks since 1985. Negotiators stopped talking after the strike began, according to a person briefed on the talks who requested anonymity because the talks are private.Our auto industry which was once the envy of the world is now in a very diminished position. One of the main reasons is the ever growing costs of health care. The auto industry supports universal health care because they realize that without it they will continue to operate at a serious disadvantage to foreign auto companies.
Bargaining between the UAW and the newly private automaker has been slowed by several major issues. The UAW's tentative contract with General Motors Corp. included job security pledges that it was likely to seek from Chrysler, while Chrysler wanted the same health care concessions that the union granted to GM and Ford Motor Co. in 2005. Also at issue was how much Chrysler would pay into a company-funded, UAW-run trust that would take on its roughly $18 billion in retiree health care debt. GM formed that trust as part of its tentative contract.
The middle class of America can not survive without both strong labor laws and universal health care. As the cost of health care continues to grow workers in all industries are paying an ever greater portion of the health care costs. In many industries the growth in health care costs for the employee has eclipsed the annual raise, which by any standard would mean a decrease in annual take home pay. How can the middle class survive under those circumstances?