By on September 19, 2011

Chrysler's GEMA Dundee plant -Photo: Toledo Blade

UAW Local #273 members working at Chrysler’s Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance factory in Dundee, Michigan voted to authorize a strike [Ed: despite a no-strike agreement that was agreed to inexchange for Chrysler’s bailout] in advance of negotiations over local issues, particularly a recently announced rotating shift schedule that has created unrest at another Chrysler plant in the Detroit area. The proposed schedule is so unpopular that almost 99% of local #273 members voted to authorize a strike if negotiations break down. The shifts, which rotate 12 hr day and night shifts week to week, are intended, Chrysler says, to maximize productivity. The UAW says it is to reduce overtime pay. The normal 3 shift model increases straight-time production by 20% to 120 hours per week.

 

Pentastar engine production at Trenton Engine Plant

 

Chrysler has been using that schedule at the Trenton South Engine Plant for almost a year. Workers were already unhappy about the schedule disrupting their lives and increasing child care costs but when mandatory overtime on Sundays was added last month UAW Local #372 started raising safety and health issues related to the schedule.

Sergio Marchionne announcing $179 million investment to build 1.4L Fiat Multiair engines at the Dundee plant

This labor unrest takes place when both facilities are doing very well, or perhaps precisely because they are doing well. Chrysler has recently invested money in both facilities and demand is high for their products, making overtime costs an issue. The Dundee plant, in fact, is currently hiring and Trenton soon will be hiring more workers. Trenton South produces Chrysler’s new 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine, already available in 10 Chrysler Group cars and trucks with more being adding next year, so demand is growing. It’s the foundation of Chrysler’s powertrain strategy. Chrysler has invested $114 million to reopen the site’s Trenton North facility for production of the Pentastar and the plant will be adding 268 jobs. At the Dundee facility, originally a joint venture with Hyundai and Mitsubishi, already produced variants of Chrysler’s “world engine“. Chrysler has invested $179 million to add production of Fiat’s 1.4-liter, 16-valve “MultiAir” FIRE (Fully Integrated Robotized Engine) motor. So far, a additional 100 people have been hired at Dundee. The currently produce about 400 engines a day that get shipped to Mexico, where Fiat 500s for the North American market are assembled. Production is being increased, and hiring for a second shift is open until early October.

 

 

 

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43 Comments on “UAW Authorizes Strike At Plant That Is Hiring...”


  • avatar
    aristurtle

    They always “authorize” a strike before any negotiations, and getting anything less than 95% on that vote is basically unheard of. Until they’re outside holding signs it’s just a meaningless formality.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      But can the union even authorize a strike in view of the bailout’s no-strike clause? That one doesn’t quite make sense.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        I don’t have the actual text of whatever agreement they signed, but in general the union members can vote to “authorize” any damn thing they please, they just can’t actually do it. Like I said, this is basically just a thing that happens before every negotiation; it’s the equivalent of trash-talking before a boxing match.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    If the UAW violates the terms of the bailout, then the government should seize all UAW assets in order to recover taxpayer money wasted protecting them from reality. Let their retirees live off social security or compete with migrant laborers for jobs sweeping Walmarts at night.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      Well said CJ. I couldn’t agree more. It seems the UAW will not rest until the Det 3 are back on their death beds begging congress for money. They remind me of my ex gf who would take, take and take until there isn’t any left. GM invested 2 Bil. in NA facilities leading up to the negotiations, that would create or preserve several thousand jobs, but gained nothing in return from the UAW. The UAW on the other hand gets 5000$ signing bonuses, increase in tier 2 wages, spring hill assembly restart and more. The Det 3 have only recently started to outdo the Japanese makes in Fuel Economy, Growth, Market Share gains, profit per vehicle, plant utilization etc. If the UAW has its way, they can say goodbye to the US auto industry.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        To be fair the UAW did concede a lot in the last few years. So the latest agreements might not be all that bad for GM. Today, GM is much slimmer. In 2008 it employed 263,000 people globally, including 92,000 in the US of which 62,000 were UAW. Today’s payroll has 208,000 employees and just 77,000 in the US including 49,000 UAW members. GM now operates 32 U.S. plants making 49 different cars and trucks, down from 47 plants and 86 models three years ago. Those reductions have helped slash costs. In the second quarter of 2008, GM spent $43.5 billion to make 2.2 million cars and trucks. That so-called automotive cost of operations was just $37 billion last quarter, yet the company made more vehicles—2.4 million. GM sold way more vehicles than Toyota with only 2/3rd the employees. Toyota employs 318,000 worldwide. So far this year, GM spent 8% less on advertising and 10% less on incentives. Made 5.4 Billion profit in the first 6 months compared to Toyota’s 400 Million. Today GM is sitting on $33.8 Billion Cash making them $308 Million in interest income on cash while in 2008 they were paying $500 Million a quarter in interest costs. I would love to see the UAW go away as much as anyone else, but to be fair, I think they have been through a lot, worked pretty hard to churn out class leading cars and trucks and deserve the raise. That said I would have wanted Tier 1 wages to have brought down 3 – 4 dollars an hour to make up for the Tier 2 wages raised.

    • 0 avatar
      fatnate

      Cj, This plant can strike. http://detnews.com/article/20110919/AUTO01/109190350/1148/rss25

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I work 12 hour shifts. I work every other weekend. I’m glad I have a real job. A stike volates the contract. Fire them all. Move the palnt to Mexico! How good are these engines when they are made by workers who don’t care?

    • 0 avatar
      windbane

      I work 12hr shifts too, I love them. You only work 14 days out of the month, plus like 65corvair said you get every other weekend off. The only thing I don’t like is working nights, but then again who does! It doesn’t reduce overtime, I get overtime sometimes 2-3 times a week. Plus I get 4hrs overtime every other week, because we work one week at 48hrs(4hrs OT) and the next at 36hrs. So their union is only whining about, really, nothing!

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Semenak

      Working 12 hour shifts isn’t the problem. Working days one week then, shifting to nights every other week is the problem. Anyone here doing a rotating 12 hour shift ? You can’t get into a sleep schedule that makes sense. When I was switched it took typically 2 weeks to adjust. Here, you never adjust.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        Yeah, that’s uh, not a schedule that’s compatible with the human circadian rhythm, to put it neutrally. Workers’ health aside, I’m surprised the management didn’t notice a big spike in defect rate, which wouldn’t help Chrysler’s already poor reputation on that front.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        +1.

        The automakers themselves have documentation and studies that prove weekly rotating shifts are serious, serious problems for health and efficiency.

        There’s a reason why most employers stopped doing this at least thirty years ago. If Chrysler’s plant management is so stupid as to try and bring it back they deserve the strike because it’ll probably be cheaper than the quality issues and injury claims will be.

        Of course, many people will say they should be glad for the work. Sure. Let’s see you work an assembly line in a cramped pit at a certain number of jobs per hour after having your circadian rhythm shot to hell.

        I wouldn’t hire a programmer to work those hours, it’s a huge problem in health care (such that mistakes and inefficiencies due to schedule irregularities kill people). It’s deeply stupid to even consider it.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        That’s the strange thing–Chrysler gains no benefit from rotating shifts, and most likely they suffer harm from it–yet they try to do it anyway. I can’t believe they are paying so much overtime that they can afford that.

        It looks like the managers are so out of touch with reality that they only see the numbers at the bottom of the balance sheet.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I worked at a place that switched to rotating shifts right after I started. The management seemed to be shocked when the call offs started, and there were anonymous “Rotating shifts need to go, or there will be a walkout!” messages in the suggestion box. The crazy thinking on the management’s part, was that “Rotating shifts will make everything the same for everyone!”. Well, except the higher management, who came in the same time every day. The union, the Teamsters, I think it was, started to organize, and the managers went into panic. When the rotating shifts were dropped, all was well again, instantly. One of the people who was most vocally against the rotating shifts asked why can’t picking shifts simply be based on a seniority basis, and you would have thought the bosses were slapped upside the head, they hadn’t thought of that. I never understood the logic of the rotating shift in the first place, it’s a health and sanity killer. The new seniority based setup put me on third shift, exactly where I wanted to be in the first place. I only stayed about a year, but had already gained enough seniority (A whole bunch of the original employees retired) to go to seconds, where I stayed till I left. Day shift is death to me, and I gave up even trying to work it a long time ago. I don’t know who people can do it for more than a couple of weeks.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I wouldn’t work a rotating shift like that, but I have no problem working twelve hour nights. It’s only difficult when you try to go back to a day schedule shortly after. My mother has been doing only 12 hour night shifts as a nurse for thirty years. When not at work, she stays up until about 2 AM and gets up around 10 AM. I like to stay even closer to my work schedule than that. 5 AM to 1 PM is an ideal sleep period for me.

        To me, this is a valid reason to strike.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ CJinSD…Or better yet, how about a public flogging.

    If the UAW sanctioned a strike, then they would be subject to getting thier collective a$$ sued,for lost production.

    As far as the UAW violating the terms of the bailout. What? The UAW was never bailed out. Chrysler maybe, but not the UAW.

    The reason, and the only reason that the UAW granted the “no strike” clause was to allow GM/ Chrysler a little breathing room. The intention of the” no strike ” clause was never to allow greedy incompetent management, to rearange peoples personal lives at thier every whim.

    If the non union transplants ever tried a trick like this, it would make Bob Kings day.

    Trust me the UAW loves this stuff. Its why they were created in the first place.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      It is my understanding that the UAW had to agree to certain conditions for the bailout to proceed, and one of them was the no-strike clause for a specified number of years (I believe until 2015). So it DOES apply to the UAW.

    • 0 avatar
      highrpm

      Mikey,

      I remember that GM and Chrysler had not paid up their VEBA pension fund obligations to the UAW when they went bankrupt. The Feds paid in the VEBA shortfalls basically using our tax dollars.

      So yeah, they were bailed out just like Chrysler and GM were bailed out.

  • avatar

    “The intention of the” no strike ” clause was never to allow greedy incompetent management, to rearange peoples personal lives at thier every whim.”

    mikey, you’re by far the most reasonable pro-union advocate on this forum, but your colors are showing here. I find myself in the uneasy position of applauding Fiasler for its pragmatism. (Even more so as it goes against the whims of the UAW, heh heh…)

    Why shouldn’t that “greedy incompetent management” alter hours — and even force workers to come in on Sundays — if there’s the workload to demand it? (That’s a big “if” — see below.)

    Is a line drone’s lifestyle more important than a potential sale for a bailed-out company, that’s still very plainly on the ropes and could still go tango uniform at any time?

    Should it be?

    And really, should those workers be complaining so much about having to make hay as the sun shines? If they don’t like that extra work now, wait a year — when the cycle inevitably turns down yet again, and those workers find themselves hungry and desperate for the extra money. Because that WILL happen.

    My advice to the drones — shut the hell up, and be grateful for your jobs while you still have them. Period. All you’re doing is giving anti-union types like me reason to continuing spewing vitriol.

    (BTW, I could swear I saw a story last week about the average age of a Fiasler vehicle on dealer lots shooting past 70 days. Are we really sure all this extra production is needed?)

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Why shouldn’t that “greedy incompetent management” alter hours — and even force workers to come in on Sundays — if there’s the workload to demand it?

      I take it that you’ve never done shift work.

      As a white-collar graduate business type of guy, I have no problem with working 12-hour days — hell, I do it all the time. But I’m sitting in front of a computer, yammering on the phone, putting stuff together at my pace. Easy peasy.

      Try working that schedule in a factory, and it’s a different story. Much of work involves standing up all day long, and one has very little independence. It isn’t the same thing at all.

      Unfortunately, a lot of your ilk are cubicle drones who have never even dabbled in blue collar work. Perhaps fortunately for me, I did enough of it while paying my way through college that I can sympathize with those who are spending their lifetimes doing it. I consider myself fortunate to have had enough education and support that I could avoid the drudgery of that kind of work.

      Not everyone is white collar. There should be no shame in being blue collar. This class warfare nonsense is just that, and completely misses the point.

      I suspect that these guys are violating the no-strike clause. But for this, I can’t say that I blame them.

      • 0 avatar

        pch, I have done shift work, but like yourself I eventually moved out of it. Once I no longer had to make a living getting my hands dirty, I opted for the cubicle/home office life with no shame whatsoever.

        I see their point in protesting, but I question the wisdom of it… just as I question the real need for a massive, bloated and corrupt organization to fight those workers’ battles for them. It still boils down to “if you don’t like it, there’s the door.”

        And so I say again – Is a line drone’s lifestyle more important than a potential sale for a bailed-out company, that’s still very plainly on the ropes and could still go tango uniform at any time?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It still boils down to “if you don’t like it, there’s the door.”

        I’m pretty sure that you’re going to fail to connect the dots here, but workers are motivated to join unions when they have to deal with managers who hold attitudes like yours.

        You guys are your own worst enemies. You don’t understand why the dog is inclined to bite you back after you’ve kicked it. Detroit management has been dominated by attitudes similar to yours, and because of it, they got the unions that they deserved.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I have found that people need time off to rest, decompress, and take care of other important things in their life. If they cannot do that, they cannot be effective or productive employees.

        Chrysler needs to keep production humming, but requiring people to work too much causes accidents and failures–the end result being less overall throughput.

        For a manager who only spends a couple years at any given job, it’s great–get temporary improvement in the numbers and by time the wheels fall off, he’s moved on to another position. I really don’t like those guys.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @Rob you lost a few points in my book with the “drone” comments. They are living, breathing, human beings. They got kids,dogs,elderly parents worries,soccer practice, and a life just like anybody else

      My point was, and is,power happy management cracking thier whips, is the fertile ground where Unions and Solidarity were born.

      Pch101 comment pretty well sums up the rest of my thoughts.

      • 0 avatar

        mikey, in the eyes of our employers, we’re all drones. If we don’t like it, there are several behind us willing to do our jobs.

        “They are living, breathing, human beings. They got kids,dogs,elderly parents worries,soccer practice, and a life just like anybody else”

        …with jobs that make occasional demands on them and their time. If they can’t handle that or think that reality is an egregious imposition on their time, I’m sure they can find a door leading outside.

      • 0 avatar
        Philosophil

        “If they can’t handle that or think that reality is an egregious imposition on their time, I’m sure they can find a door leading outside.”

        That might be all well enough if there were any real options for alternative employment, but to say that someone has the ‘choice’ to leave their job in the current economic climate is patently unfair.

        One of the reasons unions were formed was to gain better working conditions for people. I think what Chrysler is doing here is a little sleazy and underhanded. They are likely taking advantage of the ‘no strike’ clause (and the current economic climate) to force their hand on workers who are caught between a rock and a hard spot. With the no-strike clause (and the current economic climate) Chrysler probably thinks this is a good time to take advantage of their workforce and impose a set of working conditions that they know wouldn’t pass if the no-strike clause wasn’t in place. Management is no doubt banking on the fact that the current economic climate combined with the and recent struggles of Chrylser will make workers reluctant to resist their proposals by making them feel guilty and shamed if they do. Chysler is no doubt banking on getting the very kind of reaction we’re seeing here as a way of brow-beating its workers into complying with these kinds of working conditions.

        I think what Chrysler is doing here is shameful, and I don’t blame the union for reacting as they are.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        Exactly! If you read about the history of unions, how and why (most importantly) they began, it’s almost always due to horrible policies, work conditions, and outright evil done by the management. The railroad unions are a great example, the management brought what happened upon themselves, their actions, just like the car companies’ actions, brought the unions to life. Union bashing is insane, the problems with the US carmakers aren’t/weren’t the union’s fault, it’s management, and it’s always been management. They decide what to build, how to build it, what it looks like. When people didn’t like the looks, quality, etc, they went elsewhere. If they hadn’t screwed up, they would be rolling in cash, even with the union members making “so much money” Blaming the unions is ridiculous, and wrong. No, I’ve never been a union member.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Rob, you may have done shift work in the past, but you’ve obviously not done it for quite a while, and probably never did 12 hour shifts. I did 12s in the relative comfort of a data center, and it was sometimes quite a bitch keeping it going thru the shift. I only rotated shifts every quarter, and each rotation took a full week to get adjusted to. Coordinating life with family/friends was always a challenge; there were rotations where I barely saw my wife (who worked std M-F weeks) the entire work week. And we didn’t even have kids to deal with. Balancing work and life is not just a matter of “lifestyle”, it’s how people make a life for themselves and their kids when both parents have to work. Mgmt maximizing productivity with little or no regard to the effects on the “drones” is the kind of thing that makes unions necessary. Do you think that Toyota or Honda make similar moves without regard to the impact on their workers?

  • avatar
    mikey

    @ geeber…I would be willing to bet, that it won’t come down to a strike. If it did, it would create a legal nightmare.

    The UAW would be in violation of the UAW/ Chrysler agreement. The US government would have a beef with Chysler. Further complicated with the fact the banks and Fiat now own Chrysler.

    Personally..I can’t see King pulling the trigger. Politically, Bob would look like a hero,amongst the rank and file. However Kings objective is to get the transplants on board. I really can’t see him making waves at Chrysler. More workers at Chrysler, means more dues.

    On another note. Up to this point Bob King has made a lot of noise. Thing went pretty smooth at GM. We might see a few bumps at Chrysler,but it will all be put to bed in a few days.

    It will be intersting to see how the GM/Chrsler pattern sells at Ford.

    The membership at Ford has been told over, and over, again just how well FoMoCo is doing. “We didn’t need a bailout” if they can use that fact to sell cars,try convincing Joe/Sue line worker that they need to swallow the GM/Chrysler agreement.

    Yes boys, and girls…we will soon find out just what exatly Bob King is made of.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Mikey,

      Thanks for the reply. I don’t believe it will result in a strike, either, as a strike will inflame people regarding the bailout, and become a hot-button issue in the 2012 presidential campaign.

      At this point, the only people still upset over the bailout were never going to vote for President Obama in the first place. The electorate as a whole (and the posters on this site are NOT representative of the electorate) has largely moved on to other issues.

      But if the union goes on strike in violation of the no-strike clause, the entire bailout becomes a hot issue once again, especially if it looks as though the union is willing to put the survival of Chrysler at risk. There is no way that Chrysler is out of the woods as of yet, no matter how much improved the interior of the 200 is, or how sharp the new Charger and 300 look. Independents who are worried about job losses aren’t going to look too kindly on a strike by the UAW. (On the same note, we invited several friends to a “final summer” picnic this past weekend, and I was shocked at the number of people who are either unemployed, or only working part-time. These are professional people who did have decent jobs.)

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. King receives a phone call from his friends in Washington, D.C., explaining in no uncertain terms that a strike is a terrible idea at this time.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        geeber

        Oh yeah…I believe that the friends, friend? in Washington is the reason the GM settled so easily.

        If not Bob King, I’m sure that the present GM CEO is very much aware of who canned Rick W

  • avatar
    SilverHawk

    GEMA was originally a joint venture between Daimler, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi and, at the time of the bankruptcy/reconstruction, was considered a separate entity from the old Chrysler assets. As a result, the workers at Local #273 still have the right to strike. GEMA is currently Chrysler Groups only source for 4-cylinder engines, so negotiations with this local are of the utmost importance. As Chrysler increases it’s offerings of smaller vehicles, a second engine plant for 4-cylinders should be a priority.

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    “The Dundee plant, in fact, is currently hiring and Trenton soon will be hiring more workers.”

    When I was a kid my father got a job at Chrysler. His first week at work was spent at home because the plant was on strike.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    There are many (good) unions in the USA. The UAW is not one of them. They have brainwashed the workers with a us against them mentality. 3M has a lot of shift work, when is the last time they went on strike? I believe any group of workers should have the right to strike but the employer should have the right to fire them for not coming to work. Some day this goofy law protecting strikers will be reversed.If the uaw workers were as good as they think they are there would be few problems. Can any pro union people honestly say they would welcome the uaw to represent a company that they started from the ground up with their creative thinking and hard work?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      This is the main reason I don’t support unions–they exist because of discord between management and labor. If that ever goes away, they destroy their livelihood. Thus, we can believe that they intentionally create hostility within a company.

      I’m a strong believer that a company that treats its employees & vendors well will do far better in the long run than one that tries to squeese them for every last drop of blood.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    According to the following Chrysler-centric Allpar.com article

    http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2011/09/gema-workers-authorize-strike

    “GEMA is a whole different animal compared to Chrysler’s other engine plants. Every person on the line there either has an engineering degree or a journeyman’s card in a recognized craft. … while the Harbour report on plant productivity was still around, it was named the Most Productive Engine Plant in North America three years in a row. That means that plant already produced more engines per man-hour of labor than any other engine plant (unionized or non-union) anywhere on the continent. Its productivity was such that, prior to the global collapse of the industry, GEMA was exporting WG engines to China, because it was cheaper to make them here in Michigan and ship them there than it was to make them there.

    More recently, as the need for FIRE engines built up, the company and the union there agreed to try something unprecedented: hire half-a-shift of workers to attempt to produce a half of a full shift’s production. One shift could produce 400 engines a day, but Chrysler needed 600 e.p.d. That experiment started in July.

    Since WCM was implemented, initial product quality at GEMA has nearly doubled, as has hourly output, largely because of the thousands of suggestions made by line workers to improve processes and equipment. As a result, at their last audit, GEMA was Chrysler’s number one plant in terms of WCM score, followed by Windsor, with Belvidere and TAC tied for third.

    I may be overly cynical, but as a relatively-disinterested outside observer, this looks to me like an upper-level manager (above plant level) experimenting to chase short-term numbers with limited regard to the long-term damages such experimentation can cause.

    The swing shift was also imposed onto Trenton Engine workers, but they are bound by a no-strike pledge. GEMA is technically a separate entity.”

    GEMA is a separate company managed by Chrysler, and herein-lays the issue.
    The implementation of the 3-2-120 shift is the sole directive of one sole ego-maniacal mid-level manager (as the article correctly states), who has no regards for anyone, accurate data, or experts in the plants. He will slash budgets without regards to the root cause of the issue that send it upwards. No one dept will be under budget for long.

    So even if GEMA is the most productive engine plant in the entire world; guess what? Not good enough, and he sends them scrambling to find ways to be more productive.

    Who is he? Same guy who is right above the plant manager at Trenton and other Chrysler engine plans.

    Honestly, I hope GEMA goes on strike and he finds his rear end back in Europe.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    It might be time for a lot of these workers to consider a career change. While everyone stands around saying there are no jobs or choices the smart ones are acting in their own interests and moving on.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I wonder if Chrysler ever consulted with an expert in human physiology before they came up with this “rotating shift” idea. One of the problems with straight night shift work is that, on weekends (understandably), the workers want to join with the rest of the world (including their friends and family) being up during the daytime and sleeping at night.

    The summer I was 20, I had the dubious pleasure of working the night shift at the Dolley Madison Cakes factory on Figueroa Street in Los Angeles. The working schedule there was two nights on; one night off; three nights on; one night off. This, apparently was because the entire plant was off-line from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening for maintenance and whatever, but there needed to be fresh product shipped out on Sunday night to be on the supermarket shelves by Monday noon or so. (The plant served the entire US West east as far as the Rocky Mountains.) So, I had Saturday and Wednesday nights off. I found the best strategy was to take a short morning nap when I got off work Saturday morning and then stay up the rest of the day . . . going to bed like everyone else on Saturday night. Sunday I felt great . . . but the Sunday night shift was a bitch (my schedule was 10:30 to 6:00 with a half hour off for lunch.)

    A few years later in my career, I worked those same hours (approximately) for a year as a police beat reporter . . . but had weekends off. That was much better.

    So, I can see where flipping back and forth between night and day shifts could cause a lot of discomfort. As for the 12-hour shifts . . . I’ve never worked 12 hours on a production line, although I have done 12-hour workdays intermittently. I think 12 hour shifts of any kind are pretty hard on someone, especially when you’re on your feet and cannot independently pace your work or time your bathroom breaks.

    So, apart from the “legality” of a strike, the P.R. and all that, I wonder if this really is in the company’s interests, when you account for productivity, error rates and absenteeism.

    It sure as hell is not in the workers’ interests.

  • avatar
    SpinnyD

    I am by no means a UAW supporter, But I would support them in keeping out a rotating shift. Worked rotating 12 hours at my old job and even though it was every 28 days after a while you can’t sleep well days or nights. It messes you up physically, makes it hard to plan for anything more than a month or two in the future, no one can keep up with your schedule. I bet that the management came up with this brilliant idea after getting tired of hearing about night shift complaining that they couldn’t get on day shift. Management doesn’t care about rotating shifts because they don’t have to rotate. I can’t imagine having to do it every week, and I can’t imagine workers being more productive or having better quality because of rotating. More the opposite, That’s what happened at my old job, and it’s one of the reasons i am at my new job as well.

  • avatar
    Zoom

    Local unions can still strike over local issues.
    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110919/OEM01/110919844/1489

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I know about switching shifts when I worked my last retail job. Back in 2001, I found myself working at Fred Meyer out here in Seattle and had a shift where I worked I think from 4AM to 1PM or something like that for 3 days and 2 nights of graveyard where I stocked overnight while the store was closed.

    I could barely stick it out graveyard and even when I took a temp job doing graveyard, I could barely do it. No more graveyard. Once in a blue moon it is manageable, but not on a regular basis though.

    So on that note, I can understand the workers displeasure on this idea.

    And since it looks like this plant is capable of striking, I would not be too surprised that whomever came up with this half brained idea will be sent packing and I would not further be surprised if Marchione has a hand in it, if it actually tries to go through, union or no being willing.

    I was union at this last retail gig and when I had issues that needed dealing with, the rep was so useless I gave up eventually and finally on New Years Day (morning actually as I’d just come off graveyard), I was let go as a new employee and the company was reducing its workforce company wide due to the recession then – and due to 9/11 that had just taken place that Sept. I was SO ready to leave that job, I was actually glad for a change. Never again will I be put through such shit again.

    It didn’t help that the new manager who replaced the gal who hired me was such a dick and made it difficult for me to work a PT job at the Community College as a maintenance Tech and as I could not be flexible, he gradually reduced my hours until I was down to I think working 2 days a week or something like that.

    Glad that part of my life is long past.

  • avatar
    Sunplaza

    And we still wonder why overseas car makers are taking over market share?

    Seriously people, we need to have realistic expectations. This is a global market.

    We don’t have Chinese cars in our markets yet but do you remember when we downplayed the Japanese cars coming to America?

    In less than 10 years there will be quality Chinese cars in the American market and US unions will be the reason the Chinese take over the market.

  • avatar
    Center

    I could sit here for hours and not know where to start in light of the sheer bulk of ignorant posts here. First of all, enough about the trouble the UAW will be in if GEMA strikes. GEMA is a subsidiary of Chrysler. It is not a Chrysler plant. Drive past the plant and see how many Chrysler logos you can find. How about zee-ro? So posts about that are nonsense. GEMA has every right to strike. But most of the workers feel mislead on the strike vote. A very large portion of us voted to strike because of the difficulties a totally unnecessary rotation schedule causes. Few of us knew that our UAW Chairman had already announced that we would NOT strike over a rotation issue.

    For years, our plant UAW officers have given us lip service of how the mighty UAW was going to end rotation. After all the bluster, acting, and phony brotherhood talk, it boiled down that the Union didn’t lift a finger to stop rotation. Even our plant UAW officials moaned about that. If that wasn’t an act too.

    Make no mistake. This is not about the UAW and Chrysler. It’s about the workers in the middle of a company insensitive to the plethora of medical problems associated with shift rotation, and a Union that did zilch to stop it. We know why. And if I laid it out here, you’d ask me if I was wearing my tinfoil hat to keep the Mothership from reading my thoughts. One thing is very clear to many of us. Our only voice, the UAW, loves to hand out surveys to find out what we want. Then they tell us what we want.

    Here’s something from the other side many of you don’t know. When they started rotation at GEMA, the plant manager Bruce Baumbach, announced…vehemently…that EVERYONE was going to rotate. Salaried AND hourly. You love this. Guess how long the salaried work force rotated? [drum roll please] It was about 8 days according to most people I asked. No, they were not going to have any part in turning THEIR private lives inside out. Continue the evacuation by noting that ALL of our Technicians got off rotation not long after that. The only salaried people in the plant that have rotated after that, were our Operations Managers. Most of whom are pretty ticked off at the thought of rotating again. And many other salaried workers have expressed a strong disappointment in anyone returning to rotation.

    Some of you make a lot of silly claims. One of my favorites on the Global Engine threads is about us shutting up and stopping the whining. That’s usually followed up by the droll, “You’re lucky to have a job.” Well Mr. Gotcha!, we know that. Now I’m going to give you all the points, and stop griping about rotation, and working conditions, if you’ll promise to do this. If you have a daughter who says a guy is making unwelcome advances toward her at work, say, “Dear, quit your whining. You’re lucky to have a job.” Deal? How about your father who said he was put on a dangerous and back-breaking job because he got into it with his boss? You say, “Stop whining Dad?” Yeah. Sure you would.

    Here are some bottom lines. You may be mad at Unions. We are not the Union. And the UAW only wants us to become a Chrysler plant to gain even more control over us. And GEMA could EASILY work 3 crews, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and get 120 hours of work without a dime of overtime. Here’s something else you don’t know. NO ONE….NO ONE (hourly or salaried) disputes the FACT that automation is why we haven’t been getting our numbers. Automation that salaried people shopped for, bought, installed , created maintenance schedules for, repair, and keep parts for. It looks like we WANT all this overtime. Almost every week, 2 days of overtime is mandatory. One of the great ironies at GEMA is that the hourly work force is working their brains out to make up for automation completely in the hands of the company. That doesn’t bother anyone I know. We DO want the company to do well. Do very well. No one wants to hurt our employer. And in case it never occurred to you, the best way to ask for something from a company, is to make them rich. Right? Right. No slowdowns. No sabotage. No stealing. Just Ladies and Gentlemen, trying to honestly use what little influence we have, to keep from getting sick. To be able to go to school, or play (every week) on a softball team. Some people stand to pay $1500 a month in child care because they can no longer work out where one parent is home days, and one nights.

    I know I’ve stayed too long. And, I suppose I AM as desperate as I sound. We have NO ONE to turn to. When our own Plant Manager declared his hands were tied, we knew our last chance was public opinion. Since the Union has done squat, WE started calling the newspapers and television stations. If you can’t handle it within the plant, what else could we do? And we are NOT lying about the problems with shift rotation.

    We feel GEMA should be a good corporate citizen and help hold down skyrocketing health care costs. Rotation is certainly not a way to do that. We begged the UAW for help and locally, regionally, and nationally, they still sit on their hands.

    We are not bad, greedy people. I hope you’ll at least consider buying American cars, and particularly Chryslers. I hope you might use some of your energy to help us, help Chrysler, and put the UAW on track of serving rather than dictating.

    And I sincerely mean this: Peace. And God Bless America.


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