Workers at three more UAW locals have rejected a tentative contract agreement between the union and Chrysler. The scale of the dissent will cause concern for backers of the deal, though it is mainly concentrated in plants with some questionmark to their long-term viability.

UAW members at locals in Missouri, Ohio and Delaware voted against the deal Friday and Saturday.

Under the deal agreed last week after a strike lasting just hours, US industry-watchers noticed that two plants in Fenton, Missouri, though not slated for closure, were also not among those with future product listings. A UAW summary report said the long-term viability of the Fenton South Assembly plant, where Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan minivans are made, was "tied to volume" while the tentative deal said Dodge Ram pickups would be made at Fenton North to the end of the "current life cycle," including the 2008 launch of a new model.

Local 136, which represents about 1,750 hourly workers at the truck assembly plant voted down the proposed four-year contract, the Detroit Free Press reported on Friday.

Jerry Dennison, president of UAW Local 136, told the paper 80% of the workers who voted opposed the contract, a larger margin than he had expected.

One St. Louis worker told the Free Press: "Most people I talked to said they voted no because they didn't like anything in it."

In contrast, local 72, which represents 445 hourly workers at the Chrysler engine plant in Wisconsin, overwhelmingly approved the deal, with 78% of workers voting for it, the paper said.

"We're not really happy with it, but it is what it is," president Dan Kirk told the Detroit Free Press. "It's a contract we can live with."

The contract also failed Saturday at Local 110 in Fenton, with 2,781 hourly workers at the South Assembly Plant.

A recording at the Local 110 union hall said Saturday that 66 percent of skilled trades workers voted against the contract, while 79 percent of non-skilled workers opposed it. It didn't give the number of workers that voted.

Another local, 122, which represents 1,515 workers at the Twinsburg, Ohio, stamping plant, voted against the contract, local president Charles Spencer told the Detroit Free Press. He said 53 percent of the votes were against the deal.

On Friday, Local 961 in Detroit rejected the contract 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent, said Ed May, local president. The local, which did not make vote totals available, represents 1,380 hourly UAW members.

Other locals were still voting Saturday, and results were not available.

The Chrysler contract suffered its first major defeat Thursday, when a local representing 2,100 workers in suburban St. Louis rejected the pact. Union officials said workers at that truck plant in Fenton also were bothered by the contract's creation of core and noncore workers.

But not everyone opposes the deal. Workers at a Chrysler engine plant in Kenosha, Wis., voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve the agreement. The UAW local in Kenosha represents about 800 workers.

The Detroit Free Press reported Saturday that workers at the Trenton engine plant also approved the deal, as did Local 1435, which represents workers at the Toledo, Ohio, machining plant.

Although final totals from the 45,000 workers voting on the pact won't be made known until next week, the size and locations of the locals voting no are not good signs for leaders in Detroit, said Harley Shaiken, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who specialises in labor issues.

"The early results are abysmal," Shaiken told AP. "Members have sent a message of considerable unrest."

Dissident union members have used the Internet to voice opposition to the pact, and the UAW's national Chrysler negotiating chairman, Bill Parker, president of a local in suburban Detroit's Sterling Heights, has come out against it.

If the contract is rejected by UAW members, it would be the first time in at least two decades that has happened, Shaiken said.

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