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Chrysler workers to protest seniority rules

August 19, 2011 http://detnews.com/article/20110819/AUTO01/108190356

Chrysler workers to protest seniority rules

BRYCE G. HOFFMAN AND ALISA PRIDDLE
/ The Detroit News

A small group of disgruntled Chrysler Group LLC workers is planning a protest in front of United Auto Workers headquarters in Detroit on Sunday against union rules that reset the workers’ seniority when they were transferred to new plants.

Dean Pate, a 16-year Chrysler veteran who is helping to organize the rally, is upset because he lost his coveted spot on the day shift when he was transferred from the Trenton North Engine Plant to the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant.

“Two-tier (workers) get better shifts than people with years with the company,” Pate said.

Pate is in no danger of losing his job, and the loss of seniority at the plant has no effect on his seniority with the company. That means his benefits and retirement eligibility are unchanged. He will even have an opportunity to go back on the day shift at Trenton North when it reopens.

But he is upset that younger workers at the Sterling Heights factory have a better shot at the best shifts than he does. He says other workers in his position also are upset. They want the UAW to change this policy during the current contract negotiations with Chrysler, and plan to picket outside Solidarity House every Sunday until the talks are finished.

Neither the union nor the company had any comment.

The policy also affects workers transferred to Sterling Heights from Chrysler’s Detroit Axle Pl- ant, which moved to Marysville. Workers who didn’t make the lo- nger commute were given the option of going to Sterling Heights instead, but were told they would lose seniority if they did.

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