As clock ticks, Canada auto workers, Detroit 3 far apart

Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:15pm EDT
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By Euan Rocha and Bernie Woodall

TORONTO/DETROIT (Reuters) - Just three days before a strike deadline, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the three Detroit automakers were far apart on major contract issues on Friday, with Chrysler Group's chief executive warning workers they must be more realistic in their expectations.

Negotiations with Chrysler Group LLC FIA.MI, General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) and Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote) have "intensified", the CAW said, but little progress has been made.

"Today we are without an agreement on all major issues," the CAW said in a leaflet issued to the media and the 20,000 of its members who work for the Detroit Three.

"Our (negotiating) committees are frustrated, but remain intent on finding a solution," it said.

Talks are taking place around the clock at a hotel in downtown Toronto as time ticks down to the union's strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday (0359 GMT, Tuesday).

The CAW has threatened an unprecedented simultaneous strike at all three automakers if it fails to reach a contract agreement with at least one of them before the deadline.

Earlier on Friday, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne warned union negotiators that they couldn't keep ignoring the "facts" as that was not going to "make anybody's life better".

Marchionne did not provide details, but in the past he has said that manufacturing costs in Canada, which he calls the highest in the world, must be addressed in the current contract talks.   Continued...