Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chrysler Truck Plant Lays off 2,500 Here Strike in Detroit Cuts off Supply of Engines

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chrysler Truck Plant Lays off 2,500 Here Strike in Detroit Cuts off Supply of Engines

Article excerpt

About 2,500 workers at the Chrysler truck plant in Fenton are being laid off today because of a strike at a plant in Detroit.

The Detroit plant provides the engines for the Ram and ClubCab pickups that are assembled at the North plant here. The adjoining South plant, which assembles minivans, will not be affected, said Dan Moore, a Chrysler spokesman in Detroit.

The announcement came the same day that Chrysler reported relatively modest profits for the first quarter. Also Thursday, it was learned that Chrysler has chosen the North plant as one of the sites where it will build its new four-door pickup. Plant manager Jim Nihls said production of the "quad cab" will start this fall. He said Chrysler believes it will be the first company to sell a full-sized, four-door pickup. He said the company hasn't determined whether it must hire more workers. Moore said the North plant could not keep running during the strike because it doesn't stockpile engines. The strike will also shut down plants in Detroit, Warren, Mich., and Windsor, Ontario, that make the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ram and Dakota pickups and the full-sized Ram van and wagon. Two other plants make the Ram pickup in Mexico, Moore said. Those plants will continue to operate because they build their own engines. He said they don't make enough engines to supply Fenton, too. The strike will idle about 14,000 workers, including the 1,850 strikers. They are members of United Auto Workers Local 51 and work at the Mound Road plant in Detroit. Negotiations on their local contract have failed to resolve disagreements on outsourcing, health and safety issues and treatment of minorities. Their strike is the first at a Chrysler plant since the fall of 1995. The 2,500 workers being laid off here belong to UAW Local 136. President Jim Wideman could not be reached for comment. …

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