Chrysler ordered to rehire workers caught drinking, smoking pot during lunch
This whole ordeal began in 2010 when reporters from Fox 2 Detroit caught workers from the Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP) in Detroit drinking what was clearly alcohol and smoking what looked to be marijuana during their lunch break – only to return back to work after getting drunk and high during lunch. As a result of the Fox 2 Detroit investigation, 2 employees were suspended and another 13 were fired for their gross misconduct in the middle of their shift.
Unbelievably, those 13 employees who were fired for getting drunk and high during lunch filed grievances with the UAW and after legal battle spanning almost two years – an independent arbitrator has ruled that the Chrysler Group must rehire these troublesome workers. These careless workers claimed that they were illegally fired and per the guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement between Chrysler and the UAW, they were permitted to demand an investigation into their firing and an arbitrator who was either greased by the UAW or drunk and high himself ruled that the American automaker did not have proper cause to fire these people. The arbitrator claimed that Chrysler simply did not have sufficient evidence to uphold the firings…even though the company had video showing the workers smokin’ and drinkin’ in a public place during their break.
It comes as an incredible shock to me that people tasked with building products that have such potential to be deadly are so freely admitted back to work after caught drinking and smoking during their lunch breaks. Any other worker in America would have surely been fired if they were caught using illegal drugs during their lunch break – regardless of what they do for a living – but thanks to the UAW these deadbeat drunks are back to work building new vehicles. Unfortunately, this shows that in the current American legal system, it doesn’t matter whether you have been caught doing something morally and socially wrong so long as you can afford a good enough attorney to find loopholes in the case to get the charges dropped. In this case, the UAW pulled the right strings to get these beer swilling, pot smoking autoworkers back to a job where they should most certainly not be impaired while at work. In an area like Detroit where jobs (especially comfy, good paying jobs like those at the production facilities) are so hard to come by, it blows my mind that these guys are willing to risk their careers but why not drink a few brews and smoke a fatty during lunch when you know that the company can’t do anything about it…even when the lawbreakers are caught red handed on video tape.
Needless to say, the folks at the Chrysler Group are not too happy that the arbitrator ruled that these drunk and stoned workers get their jobs back. Scott Garberding, Chrysler’s Senior Vice President Manufacturing issued a statement on the Chrysler LLC Media Blog that illustrated his frustrations and those of the company including the following comments:
I want you to know that Chrysler Group does not condone, in any way, this type of misconduct, but we’re in the tough spot of having to accept the arbitrator’s decision, just as the Union must when the ruling is in the favor of the Company
We take great pride in the quality and safety of every Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat and SRT vehicle we build, and stand by it. The behavior of these 13 individuals is, in no way, indicative of the more than 27,000 men and women who work very hard, every day to build our cars and trucks.
In short, the company doesn’t want them working in their plant but they are left with no choice due to the legal crap pulled by the UAW during the grievance process.
Considering what a black eye this presented for the Chrysler Group at the time that it happened, I sincerely hope that the rest of the Chrysler Group assembly plant workers treat these 13 workers like the trash that they are. Their irreprehensible actions were more than good enough cause to get them fired but because of some legal crap, these drunks are back to work. While I am disappointed that these fellow Detroiters take their jobs for granted to the level that they are willing to smoke and drink out in public, I am more disappointed by the failure of the legal system that forced the company to hire these people back. I am also disappointed that the UAW has set the precedent that it is ok for workers to get drunk and high during work because Bob King and his gang of lowlife lawyers will make sure that they don’t get in any trouble. It is clear that the UAW has no concern for the quality of the labor provided if they are willing to fight to get drunk and stoned workers back into jobs at assembly plants. This is exactly the kind of thing that has caused so many Americans to have a negative opinion of the UAW and no matter how they spin it – what the UAW has done is put workers who are getting drunk and high during work back to work rather than do the honorable thing and force these workers to be accountable for their actions. I know plenty of honorable, hard working UAW workers but it is crap like this that causes the public to question the power of the autoworkers union. After all, we don’t read stories about the other 27,000 people working hard for Chrysler to build new vehicles…we only read about the bad ones who get drunk and high during work.