Chrysler auto workers fired two years ago after an investigation revealed they spent their lunch breaks violating company policy were awarded back their jobs after arbitration concluded last week, Fox Detroit reports.
WJBK-TV in Detroit was tipped off two years ago shortly after the auto bailout that resuscitated Chrysler that its factory employees would spend its lunch breaks smoking and drinking in violation of company policy. The timing could not have been worse as it was the midst of the "Imported from Detroit" marketing campaign to go along with the factory-in-question being the same plant that President Barack Obama would visit to claim bailing out the auto industry as a resounding success.
Chrysler terminated the 15 employees and suspended two other once WJBK broke the story.
The firings moved to arbitration and last week and the arbiter sided with the workers, handing them their jobs back.
Chrysler released a statement about the arbitration:
"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."