The schedule, which was imposed by the Obama administration in the 2009 restructuring of Chrysler and GM, allows the company to run its plant longer, adding the equivalent of an extra 49 days of production annually compared with traditional plant schedules.
It also allows the company—whose third-quarter profits jumped 80 percent to $381 million—to cut tens of millions in labor costs by eliminating overtime payments for working more than a 40-hour week and on Saturday, which previously paid time and a half.
Under the new schedule, the paid lunch break—won by auto workers decades ago—has also been eliminated. This is on top of other break time reductions imposed in the 2009 auto industry restructuring.
With the elimination of the eight-hour day and the slashing of new hires’ wages in half, the auto companies are turning the clock backwards to the sweatshop conditions that prevailed before the sit-down strikes that established the UAW in the 1930s. This time, however, the conditions of brutal exploitation are being enforced by the UAW, which owns 41.5 percent of Chrysler’s corporate stock.
On this basis, the automaker is adding thousands of new, lower-paid workers to plants in Michigan and other states.