The torturous path to ratification for the tentative labor agreement between Chrysler and the United Auto Workers could have bad implications for Ford ( F), where negotiations with the union are now gathering steam. Chrysler's pact with the UAW met more resistance from its union-represented workers than a similar deal recently ratified at General Motors ( GM), but it's expected to win a majority of support as the voting winds up this weekend. Ford is viewed as Detroit's weakest link, which could put it in a position to win the biggest concessions from labor. That said, Ford also is in the worst position to handle a labor strike of any magnitude, so any problems the company has in ratifying a deal could lead to calamity. "Chrysler negotiations really strengthened the union's hand going into negotiations with Ford because it revealed some dissatisfaction on the part of workers with these agreements," says Calyon Securities analyst Mark Warnsman. "Ford executives will be acutely aware that ultimately the UAW is a democratic organization and that 50% plus one of their members have to vote for the deal." GM set the tone in this year's historic negotiations between the UAW and the U.S. auto industry, which are viewed on Wall Street as a key opportunity for Detroit's automakers to achieve labor concessions that will put them on a more equal footing with foreign-based manufacturers with lower operating costs.