Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hundreds protest at Chrysler headquarters

Shutdown of St. Louis plant prompted actions


“I am not just going to stand idle,” said UAW Local 110 President Joe Shields. “We’re an American car company, but they’re taking all of our work outside the company.”

Local 110 represents workers at the St. Louis minivan plant.

Jeff Hagler, president of UAW Local 412, encouraged his metro Detroit members to turn out to help support the protest.

“Local 110 is having some of the same problems that many us are having in other locals throughout the country,” Hagler wrote in an e-mail obtained by the Free Press. “Chrysler is outsourcing our work to many other countries including some of it going to third-world nations at the expense of our children’s and grandchildren’s futures. We MUST send a strong message that enough is enough. We at Local 412 have made it perfectly clear to the company that we KNOW that we can be a world-class workforce at a competitive cost.”

Mary Beth Halprin, a Chrysler spokeswoman, said the company worked with UAW organizers to ensure a safe demonstration.

“We understand their disappointment and concerns over the difficult decision to idle the St. Louis South Assembly Plant and reduce a shift at the St. Louis North Assembly Plant,” Halprin said in an e-mail.

”We are committed to treating those affected by the manufacturing actions in a socially responsible manner. Plus, efforts are under way to maximize available job openings for affected employees,” she added. “However, in order to support Chrysler’s long-term strategy to build a profitable enterprise, the actions taken were unavoidable and are a direct reflection of the current state” of the U.S. market.

The protest ended around noon.

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