Monday, March 17, 2008

Chrysler clarifies vacation mandate

Development on products excepted


Chrysler LLC employees with time-sensitive jobs developing new vehicles or working with the company's dealers and customers will not be part of the company-wide two-week shutdown in July, the automaker's top executives said Friday.

However, "at least 75%" of Chrysler's 72,000 employees are expected to be off work the weeks of July 7 and 14, company Vice Chairman and President Tom LaSorda said.

The enforced vacation coincides with Chrysler's annual two-week summer shutdown of its assembly plants. Workers at the plants, including management and engineers, are expected to take their vacation at the same time as the shutdown.

"Really, it's taking a bold leap into the 1980s," Chrysler Chairman Bob Nardelli said, referring to the automaker's old practice of having everybody from the CEO to the janitor off work when the plants weren't running.

"If we shut down a factory, we should have its management team off when the factory is closed, not on vacation when we need them," he said.

Nardelli was bemused by the attention the plan drew when he announced it to employees in an e-mail Thursday.

"I looked up and I had knocked Eliot Spitzer off CNN," he said.

Work developing new cars and technologies for the automaker will continue during the period, said Frank Klegon, executive vice president for product development

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