By on September 23, 2010

The things we make, according to the Jeep Grand Cherokee “Manifesto,” make us. Which apparently means that the Grand Cherokee is an on-the-job drinker. Yes, despite an ad campaign that touts craftsmanship and American manufacturing prowess (not to mention the litany of “Detroit Reborn” hype), Jeep Grand Cherokee assembly workers at the Jefferson North plant were caught drinking and doobing on their lunch break. Clearly, these gentlemen appreciate Chrysler’s new-found dedication to quality, and are eager to create value for their union and taxpayer owners. Oy vey…

UPDATE: The Detroit News reports

The lunchtime habits of a small group of workers, which included a trip to a party store and then to a public park, were captured on video by WJBK-TV (Channel 2). WJBK was tipped off by concerned workers at the plant.

Chrysler executives are now using the video to identify the workers, a number of whom have already been suspended without pay.

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102 Comments on “Drunk, Stoned Chrysler Assembly Workers Live Up To “Bad Old Days” Stereotypes...”


  • avatar
    LXbuilder

    Sure paint a whole workforce of thousands of people as drunken dopers because of the actions of 5 or 6 guys.
    Fox “News” at its best, what a joke.

    • 0 avatar
      Jason

      Sure, blame the media for reporting exactly what really happened.
       
      Also, maybe those “5 or 6 guys” should have thought of how this would paint their entire workforce, eh?  Personal responsibility at its best, what a joke.
       
      See, I can do it too.

    • 0 avatar

      Not a single thing about this story surprises me. I look forward to mikey et al telling us not to lump all UAW drones in with the drunks and stoners. Yeah, sure.

      In a related note, locally the new GCs seem to be languishing on dealer lots. Maybe the interior reeking of alcohol is turning potential customers off?

    • 0 avatar

      Not just 5 or six guys in this video, FIVE OR SIX CARLOADS of guys, day after day after day. As an advocate of the American automotive industry, I’m ashamed of their behavior, especially at a time when we’re all working hard to convince the American public that domestic-built cars have beaten the reputation they earned for this kind of behavior in the 1970s.
      What sucks even more is that, even though the identified bozos have been placed on indefinite suspension, they are probably still earning their Union wage.
      Maybe mandatory drug testing and post-lunch breathalyzers should be required on the assembly lines?
      The youtube video has been pulled, but you can still view the video in the original FOX news report here: http://ht.ly/2IPgl

    • 0 avatar
      LXbuilder

      Jason, the point is you can find 5 drunks in 2500 people anyplace you look for them, and FOX wouldn’t even be looking at this if the President was a Republican.
      And if you use your own brain rather than jumping on a right wing band wagon, a person can figure out that 5 guys don’t represent a whole workforce as FOX would like you to believe. In reality they are just .002% of the work force at Jefferson.
      Its a joke what passes as news these days.
      Oh and I wasn’t blaming the media, I was blaming a right wing extremist group that likes to think of its self as a “news” source.

    • 0 avatar
      gm0ney

      Yes, LXBuilder, this is clearly a political hit job.  If only a Republican were president, we’d only hear good things from the media.  Remember G.W. Bush? Nary a dark word was heard in those golden years!

    • 0 avatar
      gessvt

      It’s a LOCAL Fox affiliate.  Lighten up!

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    This is felony-level stupidity on the part of these workers.  These guys are among the few survivors of the best ratio of wages and benefits to education in the entire world, and what do they do with it?  When they should end each day with a prayer of thanks for being placed in the kind of job that few others will ever know, they piss all over their union, their employer and themselves as well.
    There will be a lot of anti union ranting here and though I am no friend of the UAW, this will be no rant against the union.  This is a story of some screwups who overplayed their hands and thought they could get away with anything.  These guys should be fired and they should lose their union cards.
    This should be a wake-up call to the UAW and the other unions.  Members like these are not to be protected when they flagrantly violate the rules.  Drinking and drugs on the job may have been tolerated in the 70s, but those days are gone.  These guys hurt everyone, and the union needs them out as much as anyone else does.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “This is a story of some screwups who overplayed their hands and thought they could get away with anything. ”

      It’s clear they indeed got away with anything. Hey, maybe next week they’ll head to a strip club before their 3pm siesta.

  • avatar
    kitzler

    Drinking alcohol on the job is the same as coming to work all doped up on medication or using illegal drugs or getting off the wrong side of the bed.  If the quality of the product suffers, then the manager or foreman’s job is to deal with it, either get the message across, get new workers or ship the assembly work off-shore and specify a required level of quality and schedule.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Unless there was a keg and an ounce of that good good, this is not news.

  • avatar
    ez3276

    We used to do this everyday when I worked for Chrysler in the 1970s. Apparently not much has changed.

    • 0 avatar
      stationwagon

      why? how did get away with it?

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      @stationwagon – Back in the early 1970′s – during the lunch break it was very common to go across the street from our shop to a bar for a long neck or two with your blue plate special.  Even the shop foreman was there. Do you remember the blue plate special ?
       
      Looking back at it nearly 40 years later, it’s a wonder we were productive after ingesting that heavy meal and a brew or two – but that’s how it was done. Tuesdays were my favorite. Fried chicken with mash potatoes at a dive called PeeWee’s.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      If you think that was good, you should have seen what management put away over lunch.  Or, for that matter, what they still do.
       
      All this said, if you want to see a tragedy in the making, ask a doctor or nurse how much sleep they get.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      ez3276: I knew people who bought some of those cars.  The “us vs. them” mentality between management and labor, when unchecked as it was in the 70s, resulted in a lot of customers getting crapped on after spending their hard-earned money on a carelessly assembled product.

    • 0 avatar
      econobiker

      Of course that was also the era of 18 year old drinking age. When I was in high school in the 1980s some of my friends talked about their much older siblings going and having a beer while eating lunch off campus.
       
      jpcavanaugh: why do you think the Japanese imports gained market share?

  • avatar
    John R

    Chrysis Suicide Watch #1…

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’d love to tell you all that stuff never happens,and that if it did, I never participated. But I won’t because it would be one honking f—n lie.

     Yeah it its been going on for decades at every manufactoring operation in North America. If anybody thinks that it isn’t happening at the transplants,your smoking better s—t than those boys. The folks at the Honda plants are just a little more discrete.

    • 0 avatar

      And are apparently more capable of performing menial tasks, such as bolting on fenders correctly, while impaired.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      Exactly. Anyone who’s worked a factory job has seen this, and probably done it. Not news and not a big deal.
       
      The white collar world is known for its “3 martini lunches”; how is this different? Oh silly me, the difference is these are *UAW* people! I look forward to the day I can read about cars on TTAC without seeing all this obvious political trolling going on…  And BTW your Faux News clip got DMCA’d, LOL.

    • 0 avatar

      I look forward to the day I can read about cars on TTAC without seeing all this obvious political trolling going on.

      And many of us look forward to the day the UAW is rightfully consigned to the garbage dump of history.

      Want to place a bet on which one happens first?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      First thing my engineering manager told me when I took a plant assignment was:  “Plants are like small cities, if you can imagine it happening, it is, has, or will happen.”

      What I learned:  Plants and the employees in them, are like citizens of a small city.  A few standouts, many normal, and a few bad apples.

      Organizations, like cities, like nations, like life, is rarely monolithic or well represented by a “single data point” (esp if it is somewhat of an outlier), and anybody who tries to simplify such complexity into one, or tries to paint an entire “community” (whatever type of community it may be) as being equally bad (or good) as that point is either naiive or stupid.

      What is important, going forward, is to get the bad apples out of the wagon, and for the management of CG, the UAW and the union local, to take decisive action (reprimands, terminations, referral to law-enforcement) against those who violated policy or broke the law, so as to send a clear signal to anyone else doing or contemplating doing such stupid things that this will not be tolerated or excused.

    • 0 avatar
      VLAD

      This is likely the case.
      It shows the problem very clearly.
       
      While these individuals may have overplayed their hand, they are representative of the culture of the UAW, just like the Wall Street guys are representative of their culture.
       
      There are other examples that could be brought up, but in aggregate they are living proof of the American culture of exceptionalism,  fraud and failure.
      Now it’s time to pay the piper.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      Rob asked, “Want to place a bet on which one happens first?”.
       
      The new breed of rightie-tightie political trolls is the most absurdly stubborn thing I’ve ever seen. From drug addict Rush Limbaugh to über-idiots like Glenn Beck and that Hannity twit it’s just a remarkable thing to witness. I predict it won’t stop until we have a full-blown feudal system, and probably martial law as well. Yes, the UAW needs to see some reform. But throwing out the baby with the bathwater iis more likely. We have a president who is further right than Nixon dreamed of being, yet the idiots call him a “socialist”. I loved this country once, now it’s beginning to truly sicken me. In about two years I will probably leave for Canada, if our government hasn’t walled us in yet. No-fly lists, warrantless wiretapping, ubiquitous surveillance, zero tolerance, union busting, corporations having superior rights to humans, it’s all just totally unamerican. While the right continues to preach the politics of paranoia, they really needn’t worry so — no foreign enemy could have destroyed this country as thoroughly as our own stupidity has.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Political stripe has less to do with your frustration, as both sides and the apologists for each have gone all in on what you list. After all, the lefties are running the show, yet we have those pesky “right wing” unmanned drones, wiretapping, etc.

        The truly stupid thing is for the voters to keep doing what they’re doing – keep quiet and keep voting.

    • 0 avatar

      On what planet do white collar workers drink over lunch in 2010?
      Please note: Mad Men is set in the 1960s – and is fiction.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      @Joe Latshaw:
      I don’t watch (or even own) a TV, my info comes from real life on earth. The real question is which planet are you on, where all white collar workers are teetotalers? We surely don’t see that here in GA, where single bottles of beer, malt liquor, and wine coolers sit next to the cash register in barrels of ice at most gas stations. For the commute, obviously. If they can’t even drive to work without a bottle they’re not making it through lunch without one either…

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Kudos to Chrysler for figuring out how to make a 3-million square foot factory and not having a “safe” place to light up a spliff or shotgun a tallboy!

  • avatar
    mikey

    For a FOX piece I thought it was well balanced. However I’d love to see a TV crew at the upscale bars and restaurants on say, Wall st. See the dudes wearing suits that are worth more than the UAW guys cars.

     Right, tell me” some” of them dudes ain’t snorting a line and washing it down with three Martinis. They go back to thier offices and make multi million dollar decisions.

     I don’t really see the difference

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      mikey, I like your analogy. Those Wall St. guys could argue that their jobs are less “protected” or secure than the UAW, but they fact is that many of them are overpaid dudes in nepotistic positions.
       
      Forget coke…that level of greed and false sense of self-worth is the most powerful drug on earth.
       
      Yeah, I may slander the UAW on a pretty regular basis, but IMO investment bankers and their ilk are the lowest jobs on earth because they pretend it’s all “free market” (their work, their jobs, their actions, etc). At least union protectionism is obvious and without pretense.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Right, tell me” some” of them dudes ain’t snorting a line and washing it down with three Martinis. They go back to thier offices and make multi million dollar decisions.

      I know of at least three occasions when pretty much this exact thing happened, one of which I was present at, though it wasn’t martinis.

      One interesting difference is that there’s all sorts of quality control processes that can minimize what a drunk lineworker can do, but not quite the same processes for stopping a coked-up VP of Sales.

      Another difference, though, is that a fair amount of business happens over those kinds of lunches or after-work session.  That doesn’t happen at blue-collar “events”

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      The suits typically don’t operate heavy machinery, and therefore have very limited opportunity to maim people.
       
      Their bosses are free to can them for drinking whenever they want, that they don’t bother to do so indicates that they’re happy with their performance despite any illicit substances they ingest at lunchtime.
       
      I’ve spent time in a lot of manufacturing plants, and in the non-union ones the ingestion of illicit mind altering drugs before or during work was an instant ticket to the unemployment line if you were caught.  In the union (not UAW) plants, there were no shortage of stories about guys who would get caught with drugs at work and at worst get a reprimand because they union was protecting them.
       
      One especially memorable event was a union guy/thug who drove a forklift through a wall while coked to the moon.  Not only did he fail a drug test, but he was actually caught on camera taking drugs minutes before he crashed.  Thanks to the intercession of his union, the only fallout was being moved to a job that did not involve driving around the plant.
       
      I’m reasonably certain that if a fancy stockbroker got high at work and then drove his car through the office wall he’d not only be out of a job, but facing criminal charges.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Thanks to the intercession of his union, the only fallout was being moved to a job that did not involve driving around the plant

      I find this hard to believe.  I’ve worked in a CAW shop and did time on the HRIS database.  ”At work while impaired” was very definitely under the causes of termination.

      Put it this way: if it’s in the collective bargaining agreement that being inebriated at work is cause for termination, then you’ll be terminated.  If there’s a system of warnings and you’ve been officially warned enough times, you’ll be terminated.  Want to grieve it?  Tough, if you broke the terms of the agreement, your grievance won’t make it.

      So, if you broke the agreement and haven’t been canned, why not?  Well, usually it would be because HR isn’t notified or has chosen not to act.  I’ve seen this very often in blue and white collar: the “on the ground” manager is a coward, and/or HR doesn’t give a damn.

      Are either of those really the fault of the union?

      The other possibility is that termination for functional impairment isn’t in the collective agreement.  If it’s not in the agreement, well, recall that the agreement is a product of both parties.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      I find this hard to believe.  I’ve worked in a CAW shop and did time on the HRIS database.  ”At work while impaired” was very definitely under the causes of termination.
       
      Well, to be fair, I did not actually see the guy crash the forklift, nor did I see the results of the drug test or the video evidence.  However, I certainly saw a hole in a wall that appeared to be consistent with a forklift impact and got the story behind it from a a person I regard as a reliable/independent source who was not a member of the union or the local management structure.

      It was not a UAW or CAW plant, and I don’t know the details of their labor agreement.

      More to the point, the standards for impairment at work are justifiably different for some occupations than for others due to the potential consequences of that impairment.  A surgeon or a cop who drinks at lunch is a real hazard, an executive type who does the same thing is probably not.

      Of course the standard is higher for guys who operate or work around potentially dangerous machinery; which is why the “No big deal all the stock brokers get to do it” comments are ridiculous.  Stock brokers almost never drive forklifts, and people are very rarely burned, crushed, or lacerated due to white-collar office accidents.

    • 0 avatar
      forraymond

      Wall St., hell, any street in any city you will find all types of workers and managers and book keepers and police officers doing the same thing as these guys.  It is news because the UAW has abused their power for decades and has made their members fodder for this type of out-of-context, typical Fox story telling (not news).

    • 0 avatar
      Don

      Yup. Who drug tests doctors, lawyers, judges, cops, CEOs, hedge-fund managers, etc etc? Their decisions affect losta people, to say the least…much easier to pick on wage slaves.
      Wonder how many of our patriotic banksters had finished multi-martini ‘business lunches’ before signing off on CDO’s and other fine financial ‘instruments’, which us taxpayers were forced to ‘invest’ in later…

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      psarhjinian: I find this hard to believe.  I’ve worked in a CAW shop and did time on the HRIS database.  ”At work while impaired” was very definitely under the causes of termination.

      Believe it. Talk to actual union members – off the record, they will admit that this does happen too frequently.

      The problem isn’t that a few union members get drunk or high during work hours. It’s that the union protects them from the consequences of their behavior.

  • avatar

    What’s this? A three martini lunch? Preposterous! Never happens.

  • avatar
    joemoc1

    I had to make a very tough decision several years ago. Young family just starting out trying to get a good job. I was very excited when I got a Job in a small lumber mill in the NW. Swing shift so it even came with the better pay. I had to quit 3 weeks later with no new job on the books because most of my co workers were showing up drunk including the shift supervisor. When I went to Management they dismissed my concerns. I am not a wimp and have had several dangerous jobs at other plants. Dismissing this is arrogant and selfish. If you want to drink and get stoned enjoy the effect on your time. Quit taking the lives of your co workers so frivolously. Not much makes you face your mortality much quicker than working on feed table feeding a rip saw much faster than when the operator reeking of whiskey and bragging about how stoned he is. If you can’t hold out 3 hours for a tall boy or a hit then you have a real problem and need to admit that you are not in control of your life anymore. Quit making excuses and get help before you kill or maim, someone.

    • 0 avatar
      rnc

      I worked a printing facility once where at lunch almost 3/4 of the workers would show up at a hidden dirt road near by and smoke (so did I), before leaving for school was talking to the owner and he said “as long as they can handle themselves at work we don’t care, and if they get hurt, just remember you have to pass a drug test to go on workmans comp (with a smile)”.  Looking back it was a sound managment decision. 

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    The difference between the UAW, transplants, and white collar abusers is that the latter 2 can be and usually are fired.  I don’t have enough digits (and being male, I have 21) to count how many times I alerted floor supervisors to alcohol on workers breath only to end up being reprimanded by union stews that I was harrassing people that had an illness.  It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this is…..ten bucks say they are recommended for counseling and are back on the job with no consequences.

    • 0 avatar
      LXbuilder

      Right, white collar workers are be fired all the time for boozing at lunch. You ever spend any time downtown in any big city at lunch time? Give me a break.

    • 0 avatar
      Don

      Double standard for sure. That being said, those guys were fools to think they’d not get caught sooner or later. Sheesh, with the kind of audio/video surveillance tech available nowadays… Thing is, we need similar surveillance for white collar folks, their decisions can wreck lives too.

  • avatar
    ajla

    It’s not a big deal because other people do it and some people do it even worse. I’ll be sure to use that in the future.

    And, who the hell drinks martinis?

  • avatar
    Steven02

    While I don’t condone their actions, they are stupid and should get fired for them, but I am not sure I see the big news here.  I am sure this happens every day at several companies around the world.  But 5 guys doing it who make cars… what will the taxpayers think!!!

  • avatar
    mattstairs

    I agree, don’t judge all the thousands of workers by the poor actions of a few, and you can talk about white collars and 3 martini lunches all you want, but if I was smoking dope at work, I would be immediately fired.  If I was drinking at work, I MIGHT get a second chance.

    I’m a white collar worker and a government worker.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark MacInnis

      Interesting, mate, that as a government worker you feel “If I was drinking at work, I MIGHT get a second chance.”…..out here in the real world where the rest of us live, (at least the portion NOT inhabited by unions) drinking or drugging on the job (or indeed, simply failing a random drug test by drugging in your off hours) is an instantly terminatable offense. 

      I guess that’s “social justice” for you…government (i.e., non-essential) employees who are doing MAKE WORK, can skate by, get hammered on the job and think they are entitled to or able to get a second chance.  There’s no legal liability for failure to do your job, is there, mate?  In the real world, now if one of those JGC’s blows up, how long will it be before some legal genius attributes it to on-the-job drinking making the product unsafe?  That reason alone is why Chrysler has to act…if they don’t they lose quality and safety cred big-time.  “How good can their quality be if they allow druggies and boozers to screw them together?”

      It will be truly interesting if JGC sales take a short-term hit as a result of this video… 

  • avatar
    pmd1966 (of GM)

    One thing I learned long ago-Don’t put yourself in the spotlight. When a van shows up with “Fox News” plastered all over it, and two guys with a camera get out, hide the beer and weed.  How could these guys let themselves be filmed for 10 days? Must be beer on the brain. 

  • avatar

    “In a related note, locally the new GCs seem to be languishing on dealer lots. Maybe the interior reeking of alcohol is turning potential customers off?”

    No, it’s that just like the workers have to be stoned to look at them while assembling them, buyers have to be stoned to buy one!

    John

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      In the bad old days, operators used to stash chicken bones, or sandwiches, or trash in the door inners, or under the carpet … you don’t think these guys are hurling under the carpet do you?  Ick.  ;O)

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      In the bad old days, operators used to stash chicken bones, or sandwiches, or trash in the door inners, or under the carpet

      That was the second problem with my parent’s 76 Dodge Aspen.  The first was that it was rusting about three months after they bought it.

    • 0 avatar
      holydonut

      Lol I remember when my buddy had a weird rattle in the door of his S-10 so he pulled the door trim off.  The moment the trim came off 3 crushed cans fell out.
      At the time it was funny because:
      1) Wasn’t my truck
      2) It Milwaukee’s Best
      3) His dad was the original owner and they never changed the stereo or had any reason to pull the interior trim
      4) My buddy pulled the trim off of the other doors trying to see what else he’d find (unfortunately nothing else was there)
      5) The car rattled more after his “repair” than before
      Conclusion: The beer cans and trash actually help with sound insulation

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    With the addition of Ethanol to motor fuels, I guess Grand Cherokees DO drink on the job!

  • avatar
    dingram01

    All I can say is that better be Peroni they’re drinking or there will be trouble with the Italian overlords!

  • avatar
    johngalt

    These knuckleheads have created a dilemma for Chrysler and a bigger problem for the UAW.

    This video will be seen everywhere by the weekend.  After taking billions from taxpayers to stay in business, the average taxpayer will be expecting Chrysler to fire these people.  You can just hear people saying they won’t buy another Chrysler, etc, etc, etc.

    The problem for the UAW is that they will have to step aside and allow these people to be fired, not temporarily, but permanently.  If they don’t, a PR nightmare will follow, with the taxpayer perceiving that nothing at Chrysler has changed, it’s the same old, same old, you know the drill.  Late night talk show jokes, video all over the internet, talk radio beating on Chrysler.  The only way to put a stop to it is to fire them.

    Chrysler still rests on the cliff’s edge.  Both Chrysler and the UAW can ill afford the bad PR. They need every sale they can get.  And in the world Chrysler lives right now, perception is everything.

  • avatar
    jmo

    You do know they have beer vending machines on the factory floor at the BMW plant in Munich?  I took the tour, I saw them.
     
     

  • avatar
    windswords

    You do know there is a difference between Fox News the cable channel and a local Fox affiliate news program, right? (Hint – the big number 2 is a give away). I know the dem boys get their panties in a very tight wad every time Fox is mentioned but this was a local telecast. I’ve seen this kind of thing done on CBS, ABC, and NBC affiliates. If it was of national significance than the footage would make it to the national newscast. Also in my 25 years of working white collar office jobs at a dozen fortune 500 companies, I’ve seen people drink alcohol twice during lunch time and never saw someone drunk on the job. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s not prevalent like some you make it out to be.

    • 0 avatar
      forraymond

      …in your experience…

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I was a consultant in Manhattan for three major investment houses and the NYBOT. Plying clients with drinks was practically part of my job description and yet I never saw anyone drunk at lunch. All of our shmoozing was done after hours. Some Fridays we started a bit early, but always after the work was done. I had one client who was mildly famous for his consistent 5-figure bar expenses, and even he only drank after work. I also managed union electricians in the city, and they stank like the wino homeless. Seems like people defending the unions here only assume that everyone is as impaired as the card carriers they know.

  • avatar
    Loser

    I fail to see how this is noteworthy. This kind of stuff goes on everyday in every profession. School teachers or cops, that I can understand making news.

  • avatar
    kitzler

    Hey JMO, if you toured a BMW factory in Germany (and saw the beer dispensers)  I must surmise you bought a BMW, and therefore you have your head screwed on right!  Congrats, I am sure you would never set foot inside a Chrysler showroom either!

  • avatar
    iNeon

    In other news: Chrysler released a really fancy truck. Don’t mention that– just continue picking the low-hanging fruit.

    • 0 avatar

      Like it or not, the reality is this story is both a) far more interesting and b) orders of magnitude more important to the average American than a blinged-out Ram.

      This story seems to be catching fire, like so many spliffs. Chrysler had better watch itself… this could be a lot of trouble for them, and their patrons in the federal government. Combine this story with how most Americans already feel about Chrysler and the UAW… and this seems like just the kind of story to do serious damage to their taxpayer-funded recovery effort.

      Oh, and right in time for November!

      (Cue evil laughter)

  • avatar
    dswilly

    At least the one guy in the video left his safety vest on!

  • avatar
    Lokki

    As former production plant (not automotive) HR guy, I’ve seen two approaches to the drinking on the job problem.

    1. A zero tolerance run. Used where there are substantial safety risks.
    2. A ‘not intoxicated’ rule. Here the judgement point is whether or not an employee can safely perform the functions of their jobs.  In short, drink all you want at lunch but that’s no excuse for not doing your work correctly. My general approach to people whom I thought might have been drinking  was to explain that I wasn’t sure they’d been drinking but didn’t want to take any risks, so I’d take them off the expensive equipment, and put them to work loading trucks or something equally annoying.  Of course, we didn’t have the UAW.  Our union was prettey good about letting us do the work rules as long as the money was there.

    As for the 3 martini lunches, in my 30 years experience, they’re legend not fact.

  • avatar
    daro31

    About 10 yers ago I was in Germany doing annual report phoptography for a large German Auto maker. There where beer vending machines right beside the coke cooler and more then once while setting up my shots I had to ask a maintenance guy to take the beer bottle off the top of his tool chest. or from beside a line. Lunch in the executive dining room consisted of a very nice wine list. I guess it is all about attitudes and what you are brought up with, because it didn’t seem to be a big deal there. I went to an office area to visit a freind, and as everyone came in they were putting a bottle of some kind of wine or beer into the recycling bins filled with ice. From my Canadian background eyes I asked my buddy, whats going on here? He said it was so and so’s birthday and they would celebrate at lunch, I said Hienz, there is 300 people in this office, it must be someones birthday everyday, he just smiled ands said, “Pretty Much”. 

  • avatar
    kitzler

    for all you three martini lunch phobics, let it be known, that martinis or other hard liquor has not been allowed as a deductible lunch expense for a long time now.  Also, guess what, since about 1985, the our men in arms are specifically forbidden to imbibe alcoholic beverages at lunch or during duty hours, does not matter who is buying.

  • avatar
    TokyoPlumber

    Were these tier one or tier two tokers?

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    No comments on the fact that that Channel 2 was tipped off by the imbibers’ fellow workers?  That sure sounds like a change in attitude to me.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Bet they were tipped off by an unemployed person who would love the chance to be a tier 2 worker.

    • 0 avatar
      forraymond

      MikeAR, I hope you are never in a bad place or one of your kids.  Your seeming lack of empathy is disappointing and un-American. It is very Fox-like, though.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      So MikeAR is wrong for empathising with the unemployed instead of the union members who ruined our manufacturing sector and now cry about it? Very delusional and myopic conclusion there.

    • 0 avatar
      Don

      Ah yes- certainly it’s unions that force manufacturing overseas- not the tax breaks given for such ‘offshoring’ to patriotic management, nor the fact that few if any skilled Americans can work for Chinese wages. Gimme some o’ what you’ve been smoking…gotta be better than UAW grade!

  • avatar

    WJBK was tipped off by concerned workers at the plant.
     
     
    In other words, some sensible people, realizing that Chrysler and the UAW wouldn’t do anything about it, solved the problem by contacting a tv news crew.
     
     
    The thing is, it’s as likely that the whistleblower was pissed off about some personal thing as it is that they were concerned about drinking on the job. A lot of workplace conflicts are like that. Someone does something everybody tolerates till they piss off the wrong person.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    The UAW has a real opportunity here to help repair its image by taking a stong stance and publicly stating that they will not stand behind these workers and will wholeheartedly endorse their firing. Sadly, they probably won’t recognize the softball they’ve been thrown and let it stand with their lame statement.  

    • 0 avatar
      Don

      Weird. I work a union job, no way would this be tolerated (and hasn’t been when drug tests are positive). UAW must have different rules- surprised there is any question of them keeping their jobs. A bad day for labor’s image…though certainly there are more pressing issues for the American public, I hear Lindsay Lohan might be denied probation…etc. The joys of 24-hour corporate news.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Long live the Rivethead!

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    Although some of you are calling for the union to make an example out of them, if the UAW does not represent these individuals exactly as it is draw out on the contract, they can be sued by the offending worker for misrepresentation.

    There is a written procedure with specific steps that both the company and the union have to follow in order to terminate them. That is what was signed and agreed upon by both parties. They will go through this procedure and I highly doubt if these clowns get fired. They will seek counseling, bow to being drug tested daily or weekly, and stay clean for a certain period of time as a condition of employment. Once they complete their “program” they return to being – Members in Good Standing. If they don’t, then they can be terminated.

    I am not condoning their behavior, what they did is wrong, but there is honestly no proof of what they were drinking nor smoking. There was no drug testing, no breathalyzer, no “sniffing” the bottle by anyone in authority. We all know they were drinking a 40, and puffing on a doobie but the idiots could say it was a 32oz Pepsi and home made tobacco cigarettes.

    Yesterday afternoon, it was reported that the offending clowns were intercepted and whisked away at the gates and not allowed in the plant. The corporation feared for their lives because there is so much anger in the plant towards them. The tip did come from inside the plant after all.

    Without giving away where I work, I have been to the same park during the 11am lunch on several occasions. The difference is that we were having a nice cold unwrapped soft drink with a sandwich enjoying a beautiful sunny day looking at the Detroit River just to “get away” from work for a few minutes. At the time, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy and the stress level was pretty high – but we weren’t.  The park is at the end of Conner Ave with views of Belle Isle, Canada and Peche Island. It is 3 minutes from JNAP. There were other cars out there but not this group of %$#&-heads.

    Finally, if anyone believes that the quality of Jeep Grand Cherokees was compromised, do not buy a BMW or Mercedes built in Germany. As many have pointed out, the beer vending machines are inside the plant next to the ice maker.
     

     

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      Correction: Those were 40 oz’ers … forgot about the party store hand off. There is no denying it.

      On a positive note, did anyone notice the camaraderie between the different races?

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I’m sure the racial harmony among the assembly line workers will be a comfort when that rattle is driving you crazy, or the car is at the dealer with a problem for the third time within two months…

  • avatar
    kitzler

    hey PGCOOLDAD, you are right about beer in Germany, but you must remember it is with management acquiescence, so moderation probably prevails as opposed to sneaking one over on the boss or the Union.  However, notice how these dudes are dressed, as opposed to the blue coverall used by all floor employees in Germany.
     
    You are also very observant about the camaraderie present in the group, but high schoolers also show a lot of camaraderie, bigotry comes into life at a much later stage.

  • avatar
    eddie.willers

    Meh!
    It aint’ nuttin’ – Ben Hamper – aka ‘Rivethead’ was telling us all about the dope & beer antics of GM shoprats in the late 70′s/early 80′s…come to think of it, that wasn’t a good time for GM products…

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    This reminds me of a funny story that happened some years back to me, when I worked in a UAW plant outside Detroit.

    I was a wet-behind the years 18-year-old.  One old dude took me under his wing, showing me the ropes of the plant.  One day, during break, he told me to pay attention to one guy.  I watched as the guy peeled and scarfed three oranges in a ten-minute break.  No biggie.  At lunch, my friend nudged me and nodded in the direction of the guy, who scarfed three more oranges at lunch.  After afternoon break, when the orange-consumption ritual repeated itself yet again, I finally asked my old mate what the big deal was?  So, the guy likes oranges? 

    My old mentor laughed and told me that the guy was a well-known drunk who was so bad he couldn’t function on the job without alcohol in his system, or he’d get the shakes real bad….Orange Man’s wife was a nurse with access to hypodermic needles, so he would get a needle and inject each orange with a shot of vodka….so he was able to keep his liver pickled, even on the job, by continually eating oranges laced with Smirnoff all day through.

    Oh…and Orange Man was the UAW union steward, and the final quality control inspector on the line.

    I guess not much has changed. 

  • avatar
    Nick

    “Right, white collar workers are be fired all the time for boozing at lunch. You ever spend any time downtown in any big city at lunch time? Give me a break.”

    I agree.  I don’t know what goes on in the financial districts of New York and Chicago, but in my former life I spent a lot of time in and around Bay Street (Toronto’s junior Wall street).  The 3 martini lunch thing is a crock.  I’ve never seen a co-worker drink to excess at lunch, or show up impaired or stoned.  At most, on rare special occasions, people had a beer or a glass of wine.  Consistently imbibing at lunch would have resulted in very rapid termination.

    Also, many of the lunches we had were when we were out with clients or working on client engagements.  These clients, without exception, would not reimburse expenses for alcohol.

  • avatar
    50merc

    I think all auto workers are like the guys in the video. I also think all Indians live in teepees, all Canadians travel by dog sled, all Californians are movie stars, all Southerners wear sheets, and all Democrats are former members of the Weather Underground.
     
    Now, to return to planet Earth, I’ll toss in my anecdotal evidence. After several months and almost 4,000 miles, I’ve found exactly zero defects in my new Escape (built by UAW workers, BTW). Everything has worked flawlessly and I see no assembly flaws. I do have one complaint: there should be no shiny “piano black” plastic on the dash where sunlight can produce glare. But I don’t think the UAW had the say-so on that.
     

  • avatar
    thetaII

    Now that the YouTube video has been taken down, here’s a working link to the story:
    http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/chrysler-auto-workers-busted_20100923_dk

  • avatar
    johngalt

    Just heard a news update that Chrysler will start a “Designated Driver” program on Monday for those lunch time beer and dope runs.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    “What do you mean you can’t get stoned? It’s shitty work. Everybody does that, all right? Carpenters, electricians, dishwashers, floor cleaners, lawyers, doctors, fuckin’ politicians, CBC employees, principals, people who paint the lines on the fuckin’ roads, get stoned, it’ll be fun, get to work! Oh, and this is the most important, go down to the Shit-Mart. I need a bag of chicken chips. If they don’t have chicken, get me dill pickle. And I want a chocolate milk.”
    - Ricky


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