Chrysler workers fired for drinking back on job against automaker's wishes [w/video] [UPDATE]

As much as Chrysler would like to "move on," it seems that the story of employees who drink on the job just refuses to die. The latest? According to Fox 2 News in Detroit, the 13 workers who were fired in 2010 after its cameras caught them drinking alcohol and smoking what looks to be marijuana in a park during work hours have been reinstated following arbitration.

Chrysler released the following statement:

"Chrysler Group LLC acknowledges the reinstatement of a number of employees from the Jefferson North assembly plant who were discharged from the company in September 2010 after appearing in a local TV station's story about their off-duty conduct."

While the company does not agree with the ultimate decision of the arbitrator, we respect the grievance procedure process as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement and our relationship with the UAW. Unfortunately, the company was put in a very difficult position because of the way the story was investigated and ultimately revealed to the public. These employees from Jefferson North have been off work for more than two years. The time has come to put this situation behind us and resume our focus on building quality products that will firmly establish Chrysler Group's position in the marketplace."

Clearly, Chrysler isn't pleased with this outcome, and we don't blame them one bit. The automaker declined to comment when Fox asked if the workers received compensation for the two years they were suspended without pay and ultimately fired.

How could an arbitrator possibly side with the fired workers? Much like the automaker itself, we're at a loss for words. A video report from Fox can be seen below.

UPDATE: Chrysler has further responded to this matter by issuing a longer, official statement on its media blog. You can also read the full response below.
Fox 2 News Headlines

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Response to Fox News Story Regarding Jefferson North Assembly Workers

by Scott Garberding
December 10, 2012 2:58 PM

We've seen a fair bit of social media discussion regarding the return to work of 13 Chrysler Group LLC employees who were dismissed from their jobs at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. We took that action after a September 2010 local news report exposed the workers' off-duty conduct.

The workers followed the grievance procedure process outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Chrysler and the United Auto Workers. The Company denied all of the grievances, leading us to arbitrate the matter. After more than two years, an arbitrator decided in the workers' favor, citing insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold the dismissals. This was a decision that Chrysler Group does not agree with.

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

We take great pride in the quality and safety of every Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat and SRT vehicle we build, and stand by it. The behavior of these 13 individuals is, in no way, indicative of the more than 27,000 men and women who work very hard, every day to build our cars and trucks.

Chrysler has invested millions to upgrade our manufacturing facilities and methods, through World Class Manufacturing. We take very seriously the fact that our company was given a chance to rebuild itself through the assistance of the federal government and the taxpayers.

I respectfully ask you to look at this situation as an unfortunate aberration and know that Chrysler does not take worker misconduct lightly. We will always pursue the strongest and most appropriate actions when this occurs.

We're building some wonderful and exciting cars and trucks with the highest degree of quality, safety, performance and styling. I ask you to give us the chance to prove to you that you can trust Chrysler Group products to serve you and your family well, and with confidence. Thanks so much.

Scott Garberding
Senior Vice President Manufacturing/World Class Manufacturing
Chrysler Group LLC

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