Chrysler LLC is talking with the United Auto Workers leaders at five assembly plants about moving to a 4-day production schedule featuring 10-hour shifts.
The auto maker is targeting cost-savings at sites where there currently is no regular overtime production. So instead of performing maintenance on Saturdays, when skilled trades personnel would qualify for time-and-a-half pay, those duties would be performed on a Friday at straight time.
“For three days, we’d keep (equipment) completely cool,” says Chrysler spokesman Ed Saenz. “It’s not dissimilar to the 2-week summer shutdown period where we say, ‘Let’s work hard when we’re working and let’s all break together.”
Chrysler announced in March it would shut down its entire operation to minimize operating costs.
The plants where Chrysler is involved in talks are:
- Connor Avenue in Detroit, which builds the Dodge Viper.
- Jefferson Avenue North in Detroit, home to Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander production.
- Newark, DE, home to the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen lineups.
- Toledo Supplier Park, which produces the Jeep Wrangler
- Toledo North, home to Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro production.
A union official tells Ward’s that workers are warm to the idea because by making one less trip to the plant each week they can save on gasoline.
“We’re chewing on it,” the official says of the proposal.