UAW is threatening to strike at 3 Chrysler plants in Toledo

A walkout would halt making of Liberty SUV

November 11, 2001|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

TOLEDO, Ohio - DaimlerChrysler AG's workers in Toledo, Ohio, are to decide Tuesday whether to authorize a strike that would halt output of the new Jeep Liberty, Chrysler's No. 2 selling sport utility vehicle.

The United Auto Workers union is concerned about safety issues because of increased overtime at the plant that builds the Liberty, said Nick Vuick, chairman of UAW Local 12.

The union wants Chrysler to replace the overtime with a third shift, which would bring back laid-off workers, Vuick said.

The local, which represents about 5,200 workers at the Liberty plant and two other factories that make Jeep Wranglers, also wants to discuss bringing back work shifted to an outside supplier.

A strike at the three plants, if authorized, could occur any time between Thanksgiving and mid-January, Vuick said. Company spokesman Trevor Hale declined to comment on labor relations.

Chrysler, the third-largest U.S. automaker, wants to regain a 14 percent share of the U.S. market as part of its three-year turnaround plan, after falling to 13.4 percent in the first nine months of the year.

Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche has said strong Liberty sales are vital to the division breaking even next year and making a profit in 2003.

Liberty sales last month totaled 15,993, topped only by the Jeep Grand Cherokee's 23,989.

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