Union Members at Chrysler Plant Vote Down Contract

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For 35 years, Belvidere's Daimler Chrysler Plant has revved up the community's economy and identity, but Wednesday night 23 News learned the UAW union has turned down a new contract that would have produced a new Chrysler model, putting the future of the plant in limbo.

On Wednesday after four separate meetings, the roughly 1,500 members in local UAW 1268 voted down a ratified contract proposal, a contract last ratified in 1999.

For close to a year, Chrysler, the union and the Daimler plant were in discussions to bring in a new Chrysler model after the Neon retires its model in September 2005.

UAW leaders say the new contract would have produced the model in the stateline for the next 12 to 15 years.

Now, after the no vote, the union's management is concerned Chrysler could pull the model proposal from the Daimler plant for good, leaving roughly 3,000 jobs in limbo.