HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Union leaders representing 70,000 striking Chrysler Corp. workers gave a vote of confidence Saturday to United Auto Workers President Owen Bieber in his effort to end their 4-day-old walkout.
Meanwhile, Robert White, president of the United Auto Workers of Canada, met in New York for 1 1/2 hours Saturday with Chrysler Chairman Lee A. Iacocca. White said that the meeting produced progress toward ending the walkout by 10,000 workers in that country, and Chrysler officials said that the pace of negotiations was picking up.
"It's fair to say he's taken the finger off the button and turned the red light on to green," White said of Iacocca after his return to Toronto, where negotiations resumed. "It wasn't a wasted trip.
Anxious for Settlement
"He's anxious to get it settled. That doesn't mean he's going to keel over in a dead faint at everything we ask," White said.
Those attending a 75-minute meeting of the 170-member UAW Chrysler Council here said they were given few details about the talks with Chrysler. They ended the session with a standing ovation for Bieber, said Noel Blevins of UAW Local 371 in New Castle, Ind.
"The council gave us full support for going back to negotiations," Bieber said. "The council unanimously voted to support us, to support the bargaining committee."
Both Canadian and U.S. workers struck Wednesday when their contracts expired.
U.S. negotiations were scheduled to resume Monday at Chrysler headquarters in Highland Park, Mich.
When the talks broke off Friday afternoon, Bieber said: "We are still far apart on a number of key issues."
He said unsettled issues included profit sharing, job security and "full economic parity" with workers at General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.
Bieber also put new emphasis on a demand he called "something special." He gave no details, but union officials said the reference was to a large lump-sum payment.
Tom Neal, who represented UAW Local 1435 of Toledo, Ohio, at the council meeting, said establishing limits on Chrysler's subcontracting to outside companies is "the major issue as far as we're concerned."
"Out-sourcing is one of the items that has not been resolved," Bieber said Saturday.
As the strikes continued, smaller Chrysler suppliers began slowing their production lines and laying off workers.