Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chrysler factory may get fewer jobs

Carmaker dismisses info; workers worried


Workers at the plant tell the Free Press that UAW leadership told them last week during a meeting that the new plant will have only about 400 jobs instead of 900.

Chrysler disputed the notion that fewer people would be working at the plant than previously announced. "This isn't a figure we've used in any of our discussions," David Elshoff, a Chrysler spokesman, said in an e-mail. "We're continuing to go ahead with the plan of record," he added.

Last year when Chrysler broke ground on the new plant in Marysville, the automaker said the factory would employ 900 people and produce 1.2 million axles annually when it reaches full volume.

The Marysville axle plant is part of a $3-billion investment in powertrains announced by Chrysler in February 2007.

The facility, which is slated to open in 2010, will replace the aging Detroit facility, which employs about 1,600 workers.

Detroit Axle workers were told they'd have a chance to transfer to the new location, union leaders said at the time. A UAW spokesman did not respond to questions Monday.

Last week, officials at both Chrysler and ZF Friedrichshafen AG confirmed that they were in talks over a potential deal involving the German supplier operating Chrysler's new Marysville plant.

Frank Ewasyshyn, Chrysler executive vice president of manufacturing, last week talked to reporters asking about the potential ZF deal.

"As we go through the deal and we proceed to wrap it up, we'll let you know how things are going. Right now they are one of the lead companies that are involved with the Marysville axle site," he said.

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