World Socialist news announced yesterday (March 7, 2013) that Alex Wassell, a welder and technician that organized a rally amongst his fellow workers over a labor dispute, was let go from his position. The reason according to Chrysler was because he was,
“engaging in an activity that constituted or appeared to constitute a conflict of interest with the company.Furthermore,Wassell released quality information that was confidential to the public.”
Chrysler recently implemented an alternative work schedule at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (home of the 2013 Dodge Ram) that moved from 8 hour work day for 5 days a week to a 10 hour work day for 4 days a week spread out over the week. Theoretically, this would mean that some workers would have to work Saturdays to accommodate the new 3 shift system that would mean a rotating 24 hour schedule for the plant.
Many of the workers were upset, citing personal issues such as a spouses who worked at night meaning they would never get to see each other or the fact that although Chrysler promised to pay for the college of one worker, the new schedule would get in the way of classes and wouldn't allow that employee to attend classes at all.
Problems began on Thursday when quality issues started to crop up on final inspection of the 2013 Dodge Ram. In the first hour of production, 16 out of 58 vehicles made, passed inspection with the rest failing. Although quality slowly picked up during the day, Chrysler had to pay some workers overtime to fix the defects on trucks that didn't pass. Even though close to 200 vehicles were repaired overnight, there were more than a thousand units sitting outside due to defects ( and subsequently couldn't be shipped).
On that same day, close to two dozen employees braved the cold and protested outside the plant, against the alternative work schedule. The United Auto Workers did not endorse the protest, and for good reason. Back in 2003, the UAW and Chrysler agreed to allow Fiat (a.k.a. signed a contract) to implement an alternative work schedule if needed.
According to one employee, this new work schedule would allow 49 days of production and close to 60,000 extra truck units that Chyrsler doesn't have to pay for opposed to the old schedule.
Some condemn Chrysler over the firing of Alex Wassell, but many agree that his firing was justified. In tough economic times such as these, any job is better than no job and many families have to sacrifice in the name of keeping there job, which often times means changing work schedules. In the short term, it is an inconvenience to the worker and there families, but over the long term, it indirectly benefits everyone who works at the plant, as the plant becomes more efficient and profitable.
Source: World Socialist News