Ask The Best And Brightest: Why Can't Chrysler Workers Stop Partying On Their Lunch Break?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Chrysler Auto Workers in Trenton Caught Smoking and Drinking During Lunch Breaks:

Every time Chrysler workers get busted for drinking and smoking pot during their lunch breaks, we tend to get one of two reactions from the B&B: either the lunchtime partying is emblematic of the entitlement of all union workers, or it happens at every plant in the US but Chrysler just got unlucky enough to get caught. But this is the third scandal since last September involving Chrysler workers consuming drugs and alcohol on camera ( twice at Jefferson North, now in Trenton), and (as far as I can tell) no other company has suffered similar embarrassment.

So I want the convenient generalizations put aside for a moment: clearly this is not a union problem or an American worker problem or even an auto workers-in-general problem… at this point it’s a Chrysler problem. But why? Does Chrysler have lower morale, worse union locals, insufficient training and accountability, or is the media simply targeting it? Someone’s got to get to the bottom of this before Chrysler becomes a complete laughing stock… so let’s hear your (constructive) thoughts. Oh, and ideas for actually fixing the problem (Chrysler has already announced suspensions) probably wouldn’t hurt either.

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7 of 111 comments
  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on Jul 15, 2011

    If an executive, lawyer, accountant or other professional drinks at lunch the only thing affected may be their judgement. They're not using heavy equipment with which to endanger others or themselves. They're not performing a process in which poor quality will at best diminish the value of the product and at worst endanger the safety of the user. If it is true the the process is so automated that even a drunk/high employee can do it correctly, then these people are truly overpaid. Now that it's been so well documented there should also be unmarked Michigan State Police checkpoints set up to snag these fools as they race back to work.

    • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Jul 15, 2011

      Oh I don't know - what about a doctor? And what about a lawyer's judgment? Someone could go to jail, or pay a lot of money for that lapse in judgment. But I think you're right about the danger of working around machinery, and I suspect that is why the TV station was called.

  • Signal11 Signal11 on Jul 15, 2011

    I don't see what the big deal is. As long as they're not drunk or baked and are still capable of performing their jobs well enough, I don't see the harm.

    • BuzzDog BuzzDog on Jul 16, 2011

      This is just my opinion, but it becomes a "big deal" when one of them gets mangled or mangles another worker while operating heavy machinery, and my tax dollars go toward their healthcare and disability benefits, and death benefits for their children.

  • Dougjp Dougjp on Jul 15, 2011

    Hey, those are the guys that designed the Sebring!!! Keep it up !! :)

    • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jul 15, 2011

      Those are the guys that built the Sebring. The guys that designed it probably drank even more heavily to drown their sorrows, while the guys who pushed for it and greenlighted it were doing lines off the abdominals of their mistresses using rolled up hundred-Euro bills.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Jul 16, 2011

    Having worked in cell manufacturing and moved on to cubicle work, I don't think most production work suffers, assuming good quality control practices that include employee accountability, if the average worker has a joint or drink at lunch. Look at historic alcohol consumption rates; the US was a nation of sodden drunkards during the Guilded Age. Today, Canada is a strong manufacturer and resource producer where drug testing (outside of the transport sector) is severely restricted. Therefore, fogging your mind (a little bit) at work is not the huge problem that many scolds assume it is. That said, toking up in your employer's parking lot shows horrible judgment. And yes, there IS a reason you don't see such behavior at transplant factories. It's NOT a Fox News conspiracy. The leftists at 60 Minutes would be all over a Transplant drug story. Transplant workers, who are just as likely to be baked or drunk during non-work hours outside of the workplace, are on a much shorter (and more disciplined) leash at work. It's reflected in their productivity, work rules, and attendance policies.