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Chrysler Firing Worker Activists

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In case anyone thinks that companies aren’t very excited about the evisceration of unions and labor regulations so that they can go back to pre-1935 ways of dealing with workers, let’s take a quick look at Chrysler. The recently bailed out auto company has instituted a 10-hour day that includes Saturday work and the switching of workers from day to evening shift and back. This cuts back on lunch breaks and eliminates overtime pay on Saturdays. This is a pretty awful way to work. UAW Local 869 has fought back. Alex Wassell has led the fight against this, including writing articles publicizing it and leading a picking line.

Chrysler has now fired Wassell, a man with a 20 year record of unblemished work. Why?

The company claimed Wassell had violated one of its “standards of conduct”: “engaging in, participating in, aiding or approving conduct constituting or appearing to constitute a conflict with the interests of the Company.”

In other words, we fire you because we can and who’s going to stop us?

It’s possible of course that the National Labor Relations Board could step in. But with the recess appointments declared unconstitutional by a conservative hack judge, who knows if the NLRB will remain functional long enough to decide this. Even if it does decide in Wassell’s favor, we are looking at months if not over a year. What is he to do during that time?

Chrysler is clearly intimidating its labor force.

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