The Chrysler Corp., newly risen from its financial deathbed, returned to the bargaining table yesterday to face a demand by the United Auto Workers for an immediate $1-an-hour wage increase that drew fire from a Reagan administration official.
At talks in Detroit, union officials said that their overall demand includes a return to parity with Chrysler workers' counterparts at Ford and General Motors by the end of any contract reached, or a total increase of $2.41 an hour. The length of the contract "is the rough item," one UAW spokesman said.
Although the current contract does not expire until Jan. 14, the union requested that negotiations be reopened this week in the wake of the auto maker's heralded rebound. UAW officials have put a three-day limit on the talks to present the proposals at a meeting of the union's Chrysler plant officials Thursday in Huntsville, Ala.
Chrysler officials, while expressing a willingness to consider the union's demands, have indicated that they might ask for concessions in other areas.
On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, U.S. trade representative William E. Brock complained that the UAW's move for wage increases is "inconsistent" with U.S. demands pressed by auto makers that the Japanese restrain their auto exports to the United States for a fourth year. They agreed in 1981 to three years of restrictions.
"When I read in the paper that the auto companies are so profitable that the unions want to go back to the regressive wage rates, though, that makes it very difficult for me," Brock told the Joint Economic Committee.
Chrysler workers made concessions totaling $1.1 billion in 1980 and 1981 to help the company stave off bankruptcy.
The auto maker last week reported a record $310.3 million profit for the second three months of 1983 and announced plans to repay early its $1.2 billion in federally guaranteed loans.