By on March 3, 2021

Stellantis is reportedly bringing back a controversial policy that would have skilled trade workers doing 12 hour days for 7 days a week as a way to maximize shift coverage. The original arrangement had staff pushing long hours only to be rewarded with a full week off. But it was temporarily nixed after workers complained about the schedule and fretted over how the change might impact benefits. An alternative schedule prioritizing flexibility was created, though the automaker (still owned by FCA at the time) stressed that it needed more tradespeople working on the weekends to help avoid production gaps.

The 84 hour week is now back, with Stellantis testing it out at Sterling Heights Assembly, where the Ram 1500 is manufactured. However, it doesn’t appear to have grown in popularity.

According to the Detroit Free Press, many workers saw it as an abandonment of commitments to the eight-hour day and blamed both Stellantis and their union for failing to have their backs. But they still had to vote on it. UAW Local 1700 counted hands on the policy in January, with staff selecting what they claimed was the best in a list of bad options. The alternative program would have had them rotating with each week swapping the days they’d be on site. While a decision had to be made, some union members made formal complaints that the UAW seemed to be working against its own core principals and expressed concerns that this would become the new normal.

From Freep:

An alternative work schedule for skilled trades was allowed as a result of the 2019 contract for then-FCA’s UAW members. The company has said alternative work schedules for skilled trades ensures plants have appropriate coverage levels across all production shifts, and the union was told weekends were a particular problem at high-volume plants like [Sterling Heights Assembly].

The plant has more than 7,800 workers, according to the company. Officials have said several hundred of them are skilled trades.

All but a couple of the dozens of skilled trades workers who have contacted the Free Press about the alternative work schedule have expressed frustration, saying they do not want to work 12-hour shifts over such a long stretch and be forced to work multiple weekend days in a month. They have expressed concern over its impact on overtime and other issues, too.

For what it’s worth, Stellantis knows that it needs to play catchup after pandemic-related lockdowns crippled supply chains and demand and this may be the best solution to maximize uptime. But we were less than impressed with its regurgitated, boilerplate response that basically blames Fiat Chrysler for any decisions it makes about scheduling: “During 2019 bargaining, FCA and the UAW agreed to a series of alternative work schedules for skilled trades to ensure the plants have the appropriate levels of coverage across all production shifts,” a spokesperson explained.

Interestingly, news of the schedule change has since been overshadowed by the announcement of payouts to about 43,000 Stellantis employees represented by the UAW. The $8,010 in profit sharing represents a modest but meaningful increase from the $7,280 checks issued last year.

“These figures demonstrate the financial soundness of Stellantis, bringing together two strong and healthy companies. Stellantis gets off to a flying start and is fully focused on achieving the full promised synergies,” the automaker said in the release.

[Image: Stellantis]

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58 Comments on “Stellantis Introducing 84 Hour Work Week in Sterling Heights...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    At first, I thought this was some sort of joke.

    I’d have serious concerns about safety (and productivity) around hour 60 or 72 and above. People just can’t be fully coherent when worked like that.

    Having a long break next week doesn’t make up for the accumulated exhaustion of working so many hours this week.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      The concept of having every worker in the midst of an 84-hour workweek at all times seems very bad for safety, and productivity, and quality. It also seems “ageist” because the effects of the long hours will likely be worst on older workers.

      From what I am reading (https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2021/02/26/shap-f26.html), the alternative schedule flirts with ending the concept of weekends by taking away time-and-a-half for Saturdays. It also forces workers to work at least 2 Sundays a month, in violation of the existing contract that specifies they cannot be forced to work more than 1 Sunday per month.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    If they insist the workers do the shifts, major sabotage is coming.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      It’s like John Elkann wants to punish them for being skilled. A lot of these folks have side work doing fabricating, welding, machining, maintenance, repair, and overhaul. Some will definitely look at whether or not they want to be the personal field slave of John Elkann, or leave and be free and independent. I suspect a lot will choose the latter.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @Firestorm 500 .. After 36+ years, I punched the clock for the last time over 12 years ago. Both UAW and CAW unskilled.

      Not once in those 36 years did I ever witness sabotage. Yes ..I’ve heard of unsubstantiated incidents.

      I was an assembler, Production Group leader, and spent my final 12 years as a shipper receiver in a highly automated environment. As such I worked directly with skilled trade Machine Repair, Electricians, Tool and Die makers , and Welders.

      I believe ,with my creds I know what I’m talking about ..With all due respect sir ….you don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        mikey, I had family at some Detroit GM plants in the ’70s who were plant supervisors and had to deal with people sabotaging cars. My favorite instance was an assembly worker placing pop bottles inside a door of a car. The worst story was a disgruntled employee came in one day and shot one of the plant supervisors.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @johnds…..”The pop bottle inside the door ” . I’m not doubting your family .. Personally i’ve .never seen it, though it is legendary. ?? ..It would need to be the early 70s for a door panel having that much space .

          The dude coming in shoot somebody ?? ..I’m not the least bit shocked. I do recall a guy leaving a 30-30 round on the supervisors desk .

          Another fool tried to drive a 74 Nova through the main office doors. I guess he had some issues with the Chevy.???

          In another incident . A guy came in drunk on a Friday night. When confronted, he ran like hell and grabbed a new Cop Car from final assembly .He then preceded to try and run down the C.A.W Committee man ( shop steward) ..I suppose he felt he wasn’t properly represented ..

          Trust me I could write a book.,

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @johnds: Was one of the plants you heard about Fleetwood? I’ve heard lots of stories about it. The place was unairconditioned and 100+ degrees and humid in the summer. So people went kind of crazy.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    What would have happened if there had been no union and no federal overtime rules? This would have just been imposed on everyone, with the workers told to work this schedule or lump it.

    Everyone who says “unions were needed back in the days of brutal working conditions but their time has passed” needs to wrestle with the fact that managers would happily bring back brutal working conditions tomorrow, and Republican legislatures would happily change the laws to let them do it, if there weren’t unions and worker advocates fighting back.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “managers would happily bring back brutal working conditions tomorrow, and Republican legislatures would happily change the laws to let them do it, if there weren’t unions and worker advocates fighting back”

      Not really. The biggest enemy of such tactics is the internet, OSHA, and injury lawyers. The free flow of information means you can’t get away with abusing people anymore. Places without that freedom of speech still suffer.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        “The biggest enemy of such tactics is the internet, OSHA, and injury lawyers.”

        That’s why those same Republican legislatures are so gung-ho for tort reform, and Republican members of Congress want to abolish the Department of Labor.

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Posky

          I would like to remind everyone that the UAW allowed this to happen. This is not a partisan issue.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            How do you think management might have approached the situation differently if there had been no UAW?

            We can debate whether the UAW did a good job of representing its members here but its presence is the only reason the members had any sort of choice at all in the matter.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            This is further proof that today’s UAW exists for its leadership, not for the workers.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          @dal20402:

          Here’s a thought exercise:

          Could this happen at one of the transplants – H/K, BMW, Toyota, Nissan, VW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, M-B, Honda, etc?

          Not a chance. This says more about Stellantis’ business issues than the union. This is an economically-driven idea, and something troubling must be afoot for this plan to have taken root.

        • 0 avatar

          See: West Virginia Mine Wars. I sold my soul to the Company Store….

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The larger issue is labor unions in decades past talked themselves out of jobs and companies were happy to abandon them in the 1980s and beyond. Even if politicians were able to repeal the laws written by and for the unions of the past, I still don’t think the multinationals will suddenly say “we’re coming home” which is what everyone including the unions desire. I don’t think there is a real answer to this problem, even tariffs while perhaps helping didn’t bring things back. I recall an anecdote where Steve Jobs said to former president Obama when asked if Apple could bring jobs to the US: “Those jobs aren’t coming back”. While perhaps accurate, that is a ballsy thing to say to a then sitting president of the United States.

      https://www.politico.com/blogs/politico44/2012/01/obama-sparred-with-steve-jobs-over-outsourcing-111751

      Before I leave this topic, while generally speaking I am against mandates and diktats from unelected technocrats, I find it curious there has not been one to the effect of “you will bring X amount of jobs stateside”. CARB et al. is well aware of the economic impact of their mandates, but everyone typically complied or mostly stayed on the sideline as the White House battled them 2018ish to 2020. The OEMs priced in the changes and then had to find a way to sell product despite what is nothing more than a tax, and they seem to be OK with it. But new jobs aren’t nearly as easy to manage so I do wonder if there is a bit of quid pro quo going on in general.

      Regarding Tort reform, even if such a thing occurred the laws will be written by lobbyists likely whom many will be injury lawyers or connected to those firms. So “reform” may occur, but I doubt much will change. Personally, I believe safety is important and am not opposed to OSHA though I believe its citations should go before arbitration (as some unions do now and we did at the auction with disputes).

      Not sure on the structure of DOL, its exact duties, and departments but generally speaking redundant Federal infrastructure needs to be eliminated. Given the current economic situation, I’m 99.9% certain nothing will change because they have made it clear they are not interested in any sort of balanced budget or reduced spending – that has been a bipartisan action.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        As someone who generally thinks unions have helped far more than they’ve hurt I have to admit that they need huge help in governance. Union leadership really needs specialized expertise that they often don’t have. There has been a lot of bad union leadership; at the top of the list I would put a lot of USA industrial unions in the late ’60s and ’70s. They focused on the narrow, short-term interests of their most senior members, at the expense of both the junior members and the ability of the union to represent any members at all in the future.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @dal20402 – I agree that many unions have focused on the older members. Those older members are often more politically(union) active and get elected into leadership roles.

          One point not mentioned is that often we see a smaller sub-unit get sacrificed to the larger group. I suspect that this may be occurring here. I’m betting that “skilled” trades are a small percentage of the union membership.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Are these people who work on the floor installing windshields or doors or whatever? Or are these maintenance personal? As in welding robot one is jammed. Or there is a leak in the air hose for the impact wrench and they need to fix it. People who might be on site 12 hours but might go hours without needing to do anything.

  • avatar
    aquaticko

    This is completely absurd. How can a union claim to represent its workers when this is allowed? Not to mention the contribution this practice is likely to have Fiat-Chrysler products’ famed quality and reliability. I’ve done 72-hour work weeks before, and I know how my performance trended over the span of the week.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    7/12s is big money but tough on the workforce.

    The reality (been there/supervised that) is with skilled trades you’re lucky to get 6 or 7 hours actual work accomplished per shift, the rest is going to be “on the job” R&R.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      “7/12s is big money but tough on the workforce.”

      From the sound of it, these workers won’t be getting overtime pay for the second 40 hours in their week (other than time worked on Sunday). And they get paid nothing for the second week, when they are off. So this actually takes money OUT of the worker’s pockets.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @indi500fan Sir, may I ask Truck and Bus or Allison? It’s lunch time and I’d love some Mug N Bun onion rings.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    There is a reason for the 40 hour work week. Go longer than that and productivity declines due to worker exhaustion. In my college days, I worked long hours in the summer to earn as much as possible for the next year of school. Going to class was actually a relief.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    This is a bad idea. Tired workers make mistakes and are more likely to get injured. This does not forebode a good outcome for Stellantis.

  • avatar
    Enthusiast1

    ER docs and hospitalist docs frequently work 7 on, 7 off twelve hour shifts, and a lot more is at stake than making a car.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Is the American medical industry really something you want to cite as a model for other industries?

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        yikes. SPPPP I hope you’re really never ever really really sick. Try having a heart attack in a 3rd world country. A close friend of mine’s father in the Philippines law had one, the hospital wouldn’t do the procedure until he wired 12,000 dollars for the stent.Here , the uninsured get that done as standard of care.
        Not perfect or economical , but if you’re really sick, still the place to be.

        • 0 avatar
          SPPPP

          “SPPPP I hope you’re really never ever really really sick.”

          I acknowledge the fact that one day I will be really really sick. When that day happens, I hope the doctors and nurses around me won’t be on hour 84 of an 84-hour work week. Not just for my sake, but for *their sake* as well.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_among_doctors

          Besides all that, I think you missed the point of my original comment, which was that the overwork of hospital staff is both bad and somewhat irrelevant to the overwork of assembly plant labor.

          The stakes are generally higher for doctors, though a really bad assembly-line screwup could kill someone too. But the work is rather different. Repetitive stress injuries are a big factor in a factory, but less so in a hospital (unless you are lifting or repositioning patients).

        • 0 avatar
          aquaticko

          Yikes. Try comparing us to another developed country with a GDP/capita more than 1/8th of ours; no other OECD nation has nearly as bad healthcare outcomes per dollar.

        • 0 avatar
          SirRaoulDuke

          Hell yeah, we are better than the Philippines! Murica!

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I worked a 13.5 hour X 3 day shift in a production environment, semi-heavy industry. This gave us an 80 hour work week, but required two employees, one of which got stuck on Saturdays for 4 weeks. However we had 4 days off between shifts except when the month ended and then we flipped shifts (to avoid Saturdays forever). During the flip we only got 1 day off (Sunday). Those weeks were brutal and I wasn’t even doing manual work, just processing. The hardest part was after 14 hours any overtime made you a sad panda. That long of day means you never see the sun, its mentally depressing and exhausting.

      For medical professionals (my mother was a nurse and I knew a ER doc.) they normally get assigned based on bed count. So you might have a long shift but only a few patients. Its more about having available vs actually “working”, IE: you have to cover 12 hours but may not be seeing patients that whole time. Of course some days the stuff hits the fan and you had to go non-stop.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Yeah, right. One of my favorite stories is, when my trick knee unlocked without warning while I was mowing the grass at the edge of a 9-foot drop to a paved alley, I found myself going over sideways. I grabbed the top of the wall on the way down with my hand, which snapped back against my watch so hard that it broke a bone in that hand. I ended up landing sideways a caught my fall with my right arm bent at a 90 degree angle. I felt myself going into shock and got in the house, stripped and sat down in a tub of warm water. The shock subsided in due course, and my wife took me to the emergency room of one of DC’s leading hospitals (Georgetown University). I wasn’t screaming in pain, and there were no gross signs of injury. The resident examined me and told me to go home and get some rest. I protested that perhaps he ought to order up some X-rays. He did, and that’s when the break in the bone of my left hand was discovered; and I had sheared off the head of my right radius bone. Both of us were young guys — I was a 29-year old lawyer just starting out (not in the personal injury field). I reminded him that it was actions like that which could lead to big tort claims.

      I am not at all impressed by the “are you tough enough to work 23 hours straight?” ethos of the medical profession. So, I would not use them as an example. The first thing that goes with fatigue is judgment . . . which is a critical faculty for an MD.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        My doctor friend and my ex-GF both said that when they were doing their residency they were so messed up that they probably killed several patients due to their being so tired. I myself have done some amazingly stupid stuff when I have been tired, so I totally believe it.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I roomed with a couple of residents for a few months right before I started law school. I’ve never seen more zombified human beings—and I’ve worked in large law firms for 12 years!

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          “The most dramatic manifestations of the costs of fatigue include Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Bhopal, the Exxon Valdez spill, and the Challenger disaster, which, when the investigations were complete, were officially attributed to human errors of judgment due to fatigued decision makers.”

          https://www.danielasieff.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Sieff-D.F.-2006-24-7-Dying-for-a-world-that-never-sleeps.pdf

          Bonus: “On a more personal scale, in the USA alone, 100,000 accidents are caused each year by drivers falling asleep at the wheel.”

    • 0 avatar
      monkeydelmagico

      And many studies within the medical field have shown multiple problems with 12 hour shifts. I would say there is enough body of evidence to move past hypothesis to fact.

      Stellantis has chosen to ignore this fact. There is clearly other motives at play here. Gee let me guess…..$$$$$$

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    There are hundreds or thousands of skilled tradepersons who took early retirement, but could be offered the hours on a temporary basis. Similarly, they better be showing that 1. They tried to hire more people and 2. They are making efforts to train more people.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I’ve heard from people in the trades, certain skilled trades can clean up now and for the foreseeable future. Evidently drugs, alcohol, stupidity, general tardiness and no shows were already a thing with employees but they are also facing a supply crisis now of skilled workers.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    There are multiple problems with this concept. In healthcare the statistics are rather clear. Once you get past the 8-9 hour mark, the risk of personal injury or patient injury increases exponentially. That’s even before you consider extended work weeks.
    An Occupational Health Person told me once that many injuries she saw occurred on an overtime shift that was tacked onto a 12 hour 4on/5off rotation. This is nuts.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Been a long time since I dabbled in these rules, but as I understand it, for hourly workers 96 hours is the maximum theoretical number of hours someone can work in a week, legally. Within the confines of an hourly job in the United States. That comes out to 16 hours of work a day. Within that 16 hours there are mandatory breaks and meal breaks also.

    The only people I see benefiting from an 84 hour week are shareholders. Sure, the workers will short term until family strife, exhaustion, and burnout kick in.

    This is simply a way to avoid hiring more workers to work – 2 42 hour a week shits instead because of the overhead costs involved. The payroll is cheaper but add in healthcare, employer taxes, benefits, support staff, it is less.

    If you’re wondering why the political left and right are on the brink of just burning it all down, here is a great example of it.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    “This seems like a Friday and 4:50 PM built car…Thank God.”

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @ Just an FYI …It takes anywhere from 24 -32 hours to build and paint a car ..

      The whole” Friday Night shift , Monday morning ” thing maybe existed in the 60s ??? ….With automation its ancient history.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @ mikey Sir, always good to hear from you. Your perspective as a GM “lifer” always brings reality to all on here who are talking smack. No offense meant by the term “GM lifer”. I grew up in Indiana with friends dads working for GM, Ford, and Chrysler. All of the dads threatened to beat us severely if we went in a plant and weren’t part of “management”. Ties, not gloves boys one dad said. Would you say that skilled trades are the people who set up the machines and repair the machines when they break?

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          @el scotto …Right.. a good percentage of my friends busted their butts to give their kids an education. A trade opens a lot of doors and most require some sort of post secondary education.

          Trades people out number production people in the automated environment.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Enthusiast1–True but do you believe that is a model that all industry should follow. Keeping people alive during a pandemic is much more urgent that manufacturing more trucks. Also physically bending over and reaching for 12 hours 7 days a week will get to you. Maybe if you are very young but when you get middle age your body has much less tolerance. Additionally unhappy tired workers are not going to make a quality product versus rested workers.

    @SPPPP–Agree completely. Just a bad idea.

  • avatar

    So first thing that happens under new Biden presidency – workers now required to work 82 hours a week and do not complain – unions are sold out to masters of universe. Because workers now are considered “deplorables” by the new regime financed by tech billionaires. Nice. Thank you Uncle Joe.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      This is one company’s decision, not a federal mandate. Don’t be an idiot.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @Inside Looking Out Sir, Just No. You can bet that the UAW gave millions to Democratic party in 2020. Skilled trade unions too. The marriage between the AFL-CIO and the Democratic party is long and storied one. To say they’re deplorables is laughable at best. The new regime was not financed by tech billionaires. Your handlers really need to do better research and give you better information. Is there snow on the ground in St Petersburg?

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    I hope this doesn’t affect their legendary build quality.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Many years ago I worked as a quality engineer in a large electronics assembly plant.

    Studying the root causes of workmanship related defects and scrap over a period spanning a full year, I found these types of defects increased anywhere from 3 to 5 times once that overtime exceeded between 25 to 30 hours a week.

    I interviewed many people, to seek an explanation. Those who spoke candidly mentioned that once you reach that threshold, your mind is so numb and your body aches so much that simply one didn’t give a sh!t about the job any more.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Take Stellantis only under doctors orders and don’t take if you have high blood pressure, heart condition, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and if you are dead.

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