Tuesday

Unions Leary of Chrysler Bidder

Unions aren't happy with rumors of big money moguls buying Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler AG and that just may foul up the investor group's plans, according to Reuster news reports.

The unions' opposition comes just as Cerberus Capital Management company officials are piecing together a takeover team but both US and European labor unions are voicing strong concerns about job security amid distrust of feared large job cuts if the Cerberus group pulls off its bid to buy the Chrysler's U.S. unit. Meanwhile, industry people are tossing out some decent ideas on how to fix Chrysler and its lagging product line, if only someone in the paneled corporate hallways of Detroit would listen...

Cerberus is made up of private investment groups Blackstone Group and Centerbridge Partners LP, and Canadian supplier Magna International Inc. Reports are that they have already met with Chrysler executives and begun reviewing financial and product-development information. They are expected to present their purchase proposals by month's end.

Certainly someone needs to buy the once-proud and now-ailing auto giant before it falls into a deep economic sleep from which it can't recover...and it seems clear that its European corporate parent is about to kick this corporate stepchild out on the streets!

What'll it mean for the drivers of Chrysler products? Who knows? The new owner likely will have to do what Chrysler's corporate parent wouldn't, or couldn't, including slashing the work force, stalling improvements behind closed doors, and more cost-cutting measures, not the least of which is (just as the Unions fear) cutting wages for the people it keeps on board. There's lots of reasons to fear, if you work for Chrysler in the US. And there's lots of reason for concern if you're going out to buy a new car too.

After all, if that shiny new Chrysler 300 has fiery seats, like the recalled 2006 Chrysler 300 cars, will Dr. Z on a beach somewhere, enjoying his bonus money while you're calling the fire department?