• Dec 11th 2012 at 11:04AM
  • 497

News that Chrysler reinstated more than a dozen workers who'd been caught by a local Detroit TV station drinking and smoking pot on their lunch break has lit up the Internet, prompting the automaker to issue two separate statements.

Chrysler fired the workers in September 2010 after Detroit Fox 2 filmed the men buying alcohol and then drinking and smoking in a public park. The TV station even caught them tossing empty cans into the grass before heading back to work.

The United Auto Workers union filed a grievance on behalf of the fired employees, and a third-party arbitrator sided with the union. They started back at Chrysler's Jefferson North plant in Detroit this week.

"I want you to know that Chrysler Group does not condone, in any way, this type of misconduct, but we're in the tough spot of having to accept the arbitrator's decision, just as the Union must when the ruling is in the favor of the company," wrote Scott Garberding, Chrysler's senior vice president of manufacturing, in the second statement.

The news broke Monday, while all eyes are on Michigan to see if the state will pass a controversial anti-union bill, called right-to-work. President Obama flew into Michigan Monday to put pressure on the state to vote against the bill, which weakens unions by draining funding from their coffers. Non-union employees can work side-by-side with union employees and yet not pay union dues (but still reap the benefits of union negotiations.)

The bill was pushed in a lame-duck session in a Republican-controlled state government. The issue will be voted on later today.

News of the rehirings is a black eye for both Chrysler and the unions. For Chrysler, it raises questions about what kind of people are building its cars -- even though the vast majority of Chrysler employees were not involved in the incident. And for the United Auto Workers, it raises questions about why they are defending workers who, in the public's eye, shouldn't get their jobs back.

"Unions often do tend to go too far to defend those who shouldn't necessarily be defended," said Phil Dines, author of "State of the Unions" in an interview on Fox Business News. But he defended the arbitration process: "We might not like the outcome in any trial or grievance process, but neither you or I saw the evidence."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      The union made them hire them back? No wonder everything costs more and is low quality. This kind of stuff is rampant. Another fine union job.
      Joe P
      • 2 Years Ago
      I stopped buying any vehicle built there long time ago brand new one, nothing but problems and they would not cover it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I had 5 Cryslers Only 1 was worth the money or effert
      • 2 Years Ago
      Chrysler Rehires Drinking, Pot-Smoking Workers C'mon Mon
      • 2 Years Ago
      I own a Chrysler 300 this explains everything lol. Would not buy this car again even before i saw this nonsense.
      • 2 Years Ago
      ask a walmart worker is they would like to join a union.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wasn't the evidence in the film clip? It's very difficult to get fired when you're with a union. No wonder companies hate unions. Unions protect the slugs.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Typical FOXNews: We have to get the little man fired for minor infractions while FOX's corporate master rape, murder, enslave, and plunder the world. I might give a damn about this story if it wasn't the rich and powerful picking on the small and weak.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not saying those boys drinkingand toking on lunch break isn't a black eye on the unions or the company, but where were the cameras when the exec's went out to drink theirs? This article does not tel lthe whole truth, Michigan already was a Right to work state, they passed a law for workers to WORK FOR LESS , union busting at it's best. What this article does not tell you about Non Union workers working next to Union workers is, yes they do benefit for Union negotiations, but let one of those "Rats" get in trouble, or fal lout of favor with his superiors and get fired, see if the union helps him, fact is...they do not have to and will not help them...no arbitration, just FIRED. Had those boys caught drinking and drugging been non union....they wouldn't be there now, and they wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Representation takes money, no pay....no representation other than glomming onto whatever the unions fight for, but that's how Rats are, No pills...just parasites
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nothing in the video shows me ANY proof that validates this being an honest and true video. More than likely a "set-up" by FUAXNews
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, MI is now a right to work state, as of this morning. Why? Because crap like this proves that the unions are out of control. Sure, it happens. More places than factories, too. But doesn't make it right, and blatant disregard for the rules of the workplace should be punished. There are too many workers who would love to take those jobs, and wouldn't get drunk and/or stoned during working hours. j/s
      • 2 Years Ago
      Lets all standup and holler for the union, lets give the brotherhood a cheer! So goes the line from a saterical hypocritical song! It was funny then, but not so much now.....As the Chrysler people said they can't do anything! They are powerless to hire and fire enployees, they cannot question the integrity and quality of the people who work for them. Unions may have been a good thing at one time, but their time has passed! Hired thugs on the payroll who run your business the way they want to!
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