It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere: Chrysler Workers Caught Smoking and Drinking Again

Everybody has a bad day at work now and then and could use a pick-me-up to help get to quitting time. It looks like some Chrysler plant workers may have found a way to get a little midday buzz to keep them going through their shifts: drinking a couple beers and having a smoke on their lunch breaks.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about workers at one of Chrysler’s plants being caught drinking and smoking in the middle of their shifts. Last year, Detroit, Michigan-area news channel Fox 2 was tipped off by employees at the Jefferson North Plant in Detroit that some of their fellow workers often went to have a little “pick me up” during their lunch breaks. Chrysler -- then having just emerged from bankruptcy -- reacted swiftly firing 13 of the workers and suspending two more.

Now they are at it again, this time at Chrysler’s Trenton Engine Plant in Trenton, MI. Fox 2 investigative reporter Rob Wolchek was tipped off by fellow plant workers at the Trenton facility and spotted workers drinking and smoking in a nearby parking lot owned and supervised by the local United Auto Workers branch. Most were seen “inhaling their lunches” (that is, smoking marijuana), though one or two were also caught downing beers before their shifts at the plant. One worker had even lost his license for drunk driving in 1993 and was regularly seen pounding beers in his car before going to work at the Trenton plant.

Upon seeing the videos taken by Fox 2, Chrysler senior vice president of manufacturing Scott Garberding said that he was “both hurt and angered.” He went on to elaborate that these workers were in direct violation of the company’s code of ethics and that once it was determined who they were, they would be suspended indefinitely without pay. Garberding hoped that “the bad actions of a few [would not] put a shadow on the rest of the employees.” According to Fox 2, the UAW was initially receptive to viewing the footage but eventually cancelled its appointment with the TV network.

Chrysler's 3.6-liter "Pentastar" V-6 is produced at the Trenton Engine Plant.

Source: Fox 2

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