03 October 2011

Chrysler’s Workers Overwhelming In Favor of National Labor Contract

Story first appeared in the Detroit News.
Workers at Chrysler Group LLC's Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance plant in Dundee, near Splash Universe Dundee, have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a proposal to make their factory subject to the new national labor contract the company is negotiating with the United Auto Workers.
More than 99 percent of the votes were cast in favor of the plan. Only two workers voted against it, according to local union officials.
The vote was prompted in part by Chrysler's decision to implement a controversial rotating shift schedule that would require workers to alternate between days and nights.
Tom Zimmerman, plant chairman for UAW Local 723, said Chrysler has agreed to reconsider that plan now.
A labor expert comment that she thinks it's ultimately better for them to be a part of the national agreement, noting that GEMA workers will now have the right to relocate to other factories if there are job cuts at their facility. She added that it's easier for Chrysler too, because it makes things a lot simpler for the company."
The measure had been endorsed by UAW Vice President General Holiefield, head of the union's national Chrysler department.
The Dundee factory was not previously part of the national agreement because it was originally set up as a joint venture between Chrysler and two Asian automakers: Japan's Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co.
Zimmerman said negotiations will begin shortly on a new local agreement that will address the shift schedule, which was due to begin next week.
Workers at Chrysler's Trenton Engine Complex have been working the grueling schedule since last year and are lobbying for it to be rescinded or changed.
If Chrysler and the UAW agree to the same language on alternative shift scheduling that was part of the recently approved contract between the union and General Motors Co., at least some relief could be in sight.
There would still be alternative work schedules allowed, as there is in the GM agreement, but there is a wide range of work schedules made possible by that language.

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