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Chrysler workers at it again

If this story sounds familiar to you, it’s because something very similar happened just ten months ago. Chrysler employees at the Jefferson North Plant in Detroit were busted for drinking beer during their lunch breaks, and the automaker subsequently fired 13 of the workers involved.

Now, the same behavior has been observed at Chrysler’s Trenton Engine Plant. The news crew at FOX 2 Detroit investigated many tips sent in from workers at the Trenton, MI plant, citing that employees were spending their lunch breaks drinking and smoking (and we aren’t talking about cigarettes) at a nearby park.

When FOX 2 showed the investigation to Chrysler, Scott Garberding, the automaker’s Senior Vice President of Manufacturing, said that he was “both hurt and angered” over what the cameras captured, adding:

"The employees that we identify, as soon as we understand who they are, will be suspended indefinitely without pay and anybody else involved will be dealt with swiftly. It's very frustrating to us, we take it very seriously."

Follow the jump to watch FOX 2 Detroit’s official investigation.

Workers at a Chrysler plant in Michigan have reportedly been caught on video smoking and drinking during lunch breaks.

Just ten months after revealing how some workers at the Chrysler Jefferson North Plant in Detroit spent their lunch hour drinking beer, another investigation by found more of the same at Chrysler’s Trenton Engine Plant in Trenton, Mich.

At least two workers told the station’s investigative reporter they do not want to work with people who have been abusing drugs or alcohol prior to returning to work.

“It’s dangerous,” one employee reportedly said.

The latest video shows workers roughly a mile from the plant, but just steps away from a United Auto Workers hall.

In a statement to, Chrysler said the conduct captured on tape was “unacceptable” and the workers would be suspended indefinitely without pay once they are identified.

“I just want to say I am both hurt and angered over what your cameras captured,” said Scott Garberding, senior vice president of manufacturing.

“Again, we have Chrysler workers in a compromised position, without regard for the impact of their actions, the reputation of their coworkers, the plant, of the company, not to mention their own reputation and that of their families. As a company, in the last two years we’ve come too far and made way too much progress to let the bad actions of a few put a shadow on the rest of the employees,” Garberding said.

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I agree that the workers caught drinking and smoking pot should at least be given days off for their behavior. They could hurt themselves or other team members when they get back to work. I hope that the UAW agrees with the actions when the offenders are identified and their actions are substantiated. The accused are at least entitled to that. I’m more put out with regard to safety than the public relations aspect.

Which Is It ? Are We To Believe That A Few Chrysler Assembly Workers Are The Only Factory Workers In The Industry Behaving This Way Or Is It That Chrysler Is Better At Observing Employee Behavior, Catching And Punishing Poor Behavior ?

At the car dealers (VW, Mazda, Porsche, Audi) where I worked many employees drank beer at lunch time. I’ve never been to Germany, but I’ve heard it’s the norm there. Is this correct ?

Have you ever seen what goes on in the kitchens of some restaurants ?


CSA: I have watched most episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, so yeah.

Factories are dangerous places. I worked in a steel mill and took customers to lunch frequently. They could drink, but I wouldn’t. Someone had to keep an eye out for several tons of steel on a lift truck or crane hook. And it’s even more dangerous for the workers. The last mill I worked in had someone drinking frequently on the job. Almost all his fellow employees were alarmed and did not want him working when he was drunk. Almost all? The shop steward managed to get his punishment suspended and pushed up the line for many months. The foreman finally just found a place for him to sleep it off and put a sober worker on the machine. BTW, this guy was a roller on the mill. If he wasn’t attentive, he could kill several people in a less than one minute.

A situation like this should be dealt with swiftly to prevent injury or death to people who have to work with these people who are using their lunch break to drink and get high. I work in a factory with zero tolerance for drug use or alcohol influence while at work. If a lift truck worker so much as damages any product, he or she is immediately drug tested and fired if anything unusual shows up. There was even a case a year or so ago in which an employee reported a half dozen or so specific names to HR of people they claimed they saw doing drugs at a party. These people were told to either submit to drug testing or to resign. None of them work there anymore. I don’t see how the management could not take this seriously in good conscience, considering the safety aspect of something like this. Hopefully the UAW does not feel the need to “protect” these employees because if they choose to do that, they will be recklessly endangering them and all their coworkers by allowing this behavior to continue.

Is it just me, or does the fact that it is all Exposed by Murdochs Foxes, kind of rankle? Smoking pot, bad, drinking beer while operating equipment, bad. So I imagine that most of these folks have to submit to piss tests, it seems the norm these days. How bout going to dry out along with all the Martini lunch managers as well?

There was even a case a year or so ago in which an employee reported a half dozen or so specific names to HR of people they claimed they saw doing drugs at a party.

It would be a shame if he slipped and fell.

Or . . . Accidently Bumped Into The Knife Of A Guy Peeling An Apple On A Street Corner . . . Seventeen Times.


While I think smoking pot or being drunk while working at a auto plant is a danger to oneself and the other people around them…

I’m very leery about the source (Fox News). A couple of their famous undercover videos in the past have been proven to be false…

Yes, safety is the number one concern but I am surprised at what appears to be a tolerance for the fact that these people cannot be doing their jobs proficiently if they are drinking or smoking on the job.

What effect do you think that has on the remainder of the workers? If management allows Joe Blow to drink and sleep it off on the job, do you think that has any negative repercussions with regard to the morale of the remaining people? Why should I bust my can when Joe is given preferential treatment? It lowers the standard for everyone. There’s only one reason I can think that this would be allowed to happen, that worker is protected by a UNION. It’s easier for the foreman to hide Joe’s issues than to address them in a way I think most people feel they should be addressed.

In any place I have ever worked where there weren’t such protections, Joe would have been given ONE CHANCE to seek treatment. If it happened 2x, he would be gone THAT DAY. Canned immediately, no negotiations, no special treatment.

A few points:

It isn’t Fox News (the national organization) that is uncovering this behavior - it is simply the local Fox affiliate’s news reporters that are. There is a BIG difference between the Fox affiliate and the cable station. The affiliates are not necessarily conservative or in any way directed by the corporate group. I’ve actually lived in areas where the Fox affiliate was the most liberal station around.

As for this being at Chrysler - it may occur elsewhere, too… But from my experience with different plant management, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this was FAR more prevalent at Chrysler…

This has nothing to do with being Conservative or Liberal…Has everything to do with credibility. We’ll wait and see…but right now I’m holding off judgement until I hear from a more trustworthy source.

As for this being prevalent in other Chryco plants…Who knows? I do know before my bother-in-law retired as a Chryco plant manager he would have FIRED anyone who was impaired while working on the line…In fact he’s done it…

Coke-A-Cola even fired an employee for drinking a Pepsi at a bar.

MikeInNH -

Still, the local Fox affiliates have no real connection with the national “news” organization, as they’re separate businesses, owned and operated independently. I would be far more concerned if this was a “Sinclair Broadcast Group” station than simply because it is a Fox affiliate. The affiliate has nothing to do with the credibility problems of Fox News…

And Kudos to your brother-in-law, if he would have done so… I’ve just seen far more acceptance of this behavior at Chrysler than others… IMO, anyone drinking or doing drugs should be fired on the spot - too many good clean hard workers looking for a job to tolerate that, when it will come back and bite the company on quality and safety both…

IMO, anyone drinking or doing drugs should be fired on the spot - too many good clean hard workers looking for a job to tolerate that, when it will come back and bite the company on quality and safety both…

As a software engineering manager I’ve sent two workers home for being drunk or high…And wouldn’t allow them back to work unless they saw counseling or treatment. One never came back. But in my field…it’s not so much a safety issue as a work quality and moral issue. I don’t tolerate at work. Do what you want at home…just don’t bring that baggage to work.

Some years back I did the statistical analysis for a doctoral candidate who was a substance abuse counselor in a VA hospital. He made the statement that “poverty is not the cause of drug use, but drug use is the cause of poverty”. He cited instance after instance of people who had good jobs but became subtance abusers and lost everything.
He likened what he did to running a lifeboat in an area of sharks. One of the rules of the lifeboat is that even though it is cold, you are not allowed to build a fire on the boat to keep warm. If you do it once, we extinguish the fire and let you know that if it happens again we throw you overboard. If it happens the second time, we throw you overboard and you take your chances with the sharks.

. He made the statement that “poverty is not the cause of drug use, but drug use is the cause of poverty”. He cited instance after instance of people who had good jobs but became subtance abusers and lost everything.

While I agree with the statement that drug use causes poverty…that doesn’t mean that poverty isn’t partially to blame for drug abuse. There have been many studies of where when the economy is good…drug-use goes down. Even specific areas of the country where all of a sudden some industry comes in and creates jobs and really increases the living standards…drug-use decreased…One of the latest studies was with Casino’s on native American reservations…Before Casino’s…drug was was very very high…after the Casino’s where jobs were plentiful and life style increase drastically…drug-use decreased drastically.

I suppose I might be tempted to drink if everything seemed hopeless. However, if I have a job when unemployment is high, I certainly wouldn’t want to jeopardize it by drinking on the job.