Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chrysler asks UAW for four 10-hour days

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Chrysler LLC is negotiating with the UAW to put factory employees on four 10-hour workdays to save energy and travel.

Chrysler manufacturing chief Frank Ewasyshyn said the new schedule would affect most of its plants except those working lots of overtime, such as Belvidere assembly in Illinois and Sterling Heights assembly in suburban Detroit. The remaining plants likely would qualify, Ewasyshyn told Automotive News today on the sidelines at the Management Briefing Seminars here.

Ewasyshyn said the proposal is similar to what some government entities are doing to reduce energy costs. They are shifting from five eight-hour days per workweek to four 10-hour days.

It reduces costs for workers and "reduces our operating costs," Ewasyshyn said.

Belvidere makes the Dodge Caliber small car and Jeep Patriot and Compass crossovers. Sterling Heights makes the Chrysler Sebring sedan, its convertible variation and the Dodge Avenger sedan.

Chrysler is testing the plan in a parts distribution center in Atlanta.

Ewasyshyn said he couldn't immediately provide specific savings, but he said it was less than $10 million annually.

To approve the change, Ewasyshyn said Chrysler is talking with the international UAW and the locals representing the affected plants.

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