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Nardelli Wants to Offer Employee Stock Options; Chrysler Chairman Lauds UAW Contract Passage

October 29, 2007
Related Topics: Future Workplace, Labor Relations, Latest News
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With a freshly minted labor contract behind him, Chrysler chairman Bob Nardelli wants to share Chrysler’s future success with employees.

Speaking with an interviewer at the Magazine Publishers of America conference in Boca Raton, Florida, Nardelli said he would like to see Chrysler offer stock options to employees.

“We’re going to move options down pretty significantly into the organization,” Nardelli told Dennis Kneale, CNBC media and technology editor, during a webcast of the event Monday, October 29. “It is important to give them a piece of the action.”

Nardelli says he meant that “hundreds of individuals will participate in our success as we go forward.”

He did not offer further details.

The Chrysler chairman also hailed the newly ratified labor agreement with the United Auto Workers as “revolutionary.”

The two-tier wage agreement enables Chrysler to pay some entry-level employees a lower wage. That helps Chrysler eliminate some of the cost disadvantage it has relative to some of its competitors.

Workers ratified the agreement after a difficult period in which it looked at times as though it might fail. Several assembly plants rejected the pact. The contract received support from about 54 percent of UAW members who voted.

Nardelli attributed the closeness of the vote to “some unease about moving health care liability to UAW” and “some unease to change” in general.

Nardelli also called for the federal government to keep treating pickups different from passenger cars when legislating fuel economy standards.

“I would hope that not all vehicles are created equal,” he said. “We get 60 percent of our revenue from the small-business owners. Trucks contribute to their ability to earn a living. We’ve got to make sure we explain that.”

Nardelli, who was criticized for going to his previous job at Home Depot in a chauffeur-driven vehicle, says he has a different style at Chrysler, where he gets behind the wheel of all the company’s products.

“I drive a different one to work every day. I get my chief engineer in the garage and go through a few items. He is very patient with me.”

Filed by Bradford Wernle of Automotive News, a sister publication of Workforce Management.

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