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Published: Sunday, 9/18/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Chrysler workers in Dundee authorize strike

BLADE STAFF

MONROE - An overwhelming majority of workers at Chrysler’s Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance plant in Dundee Sunday voted to authorize a strike.

About 98 percent of the members of UAW Local 723 voted in favor of strike authorization, the union’s chairman Tom Zimmerman said. The authorization does not mean there will be a strike, but does empower the plant’s union leadership to call one should it be necessary.

“It’s a precautionary thing,” Mr. Zimmerman said. “It’s just in case we need it.”

Negotiations between Chrysler Group LLC and the union have not started yet. Union members are concerned over a change in scheduling that would allow the automaker to significantly reduce overtime costs.

Local 723 officials argue the rotating schedule proposal would disrupt worker’s ability to adjust to shifts at different times, causing unnecessary fatigue.

Chrysler has said it will not comment on the upcoming negotiations or the strike vote. If a strike goes ahead it could threaten production at several assembly plants.

The Monroe County plant is Chrysler’s main source for fuel-efficient, four-cylinder engines in vehicles ranging in size from the small Fiat 500 to the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger sedans. A disruption at the plant in Dundee could directly impact Chrysler assembly workers in Belvidere, Ill., Sterling Heights, Mich., and Toluca, Mexico.

The automaker already has a “no strike” guarantee from the United Auto Workers on its national contract being negotiated in Detroit.



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