Friday, March 21, 2008

Chrysler cuts shift at Sterling Heights plant

The 1,100 employees who work the afternoon shift at Chrysler's Sterling Assembly Plant have lost their jobs.

The shift was eliminated as part of Chrysler's plans announced last year to bring the giant automaker's production in line with the buyers' demand, a Chrysler spokesman said. The plant, according to Angela Thompkins, governmental relations publicist for Chrysler, makes the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger mid-size cars.

Patrick Walsh, plant manager of the plant, refused to comment.

Some employees said there were threats written on bathroom doors at the plant to harm unidentified persons.

Sterling Heights police Lt. Michael Reese said police were informed earlier Thursday by Chrysler that it would lay off people at the Assembly Plant. But as of late Thursday there were no problems, said Reese.

"We're standing by," he said. "But we've had no problems at all."

Chrysler's announcement last November to streamline their new car production already is in place. Chrysler has eliminated shifts in Toledo, Ohio; Brampton, Ontario; Belvidere, Ill.; and Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.

Thompkins said she did not know if Chrysler would offer the latest wave of unemployed workers early retirement incentives.

The Sterling Assembly Plant opened in 1953 to produce jet engines. It was converted for automobile production in 1980 by Volkswagen and bought by Chrysler three years later.

The plant's 3 million square feet of space sits on 286 acres at 38111 Van Dyke. The plant previously employed 2,720 people.

A nearby Sterling Stamping Plant opened in 1965.

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