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.Lefteris. 24th June 2012 11:29

Chrysler saves on 4-day workweek
Kokomo uses 10-hour shifts; local GM unimpressed

Sherry Slater | The Journal Gazette
<!--end artheader div--><!--display standalone main photos here--><!--display headshot main photos here--><!--drop all photos here unless instructed by design class otherwise-->At first glance, the alternative work schedule looks attractive.
It calls for four 10-hour days, giving workers a three-day weekend every week. That adds up to 49 extra days off every year.
Chrysler recently adopted the schedule at its three Kokomo transmission plants as a low-cost way to ramp up production.
Automakers that want to increase output have a choice: Build and equip more factories, or crank out more vehicles using existing operations. Not only is the second option cheaper, it’s much faster.
Although a Chrysler spokeswoman described the schedule as being even more productive than one of the company’s three-shift, 24-hour operations, a local General Motors spokeswoman said it’s not being considered for the Allen County truck assembly plant.
Some local workers might consider that good news. A union leader in Kokomo said his members hate the change made about a month ago.

How it works
Chrysler’s car sales rose by 30 percent last month compared with the previous year.
The Detroit company’s strategy for meeting increased demand has included converting its Kokomo plant to an alternative work schedule called 3-2-120.
Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson explained how it works: Three crews work two shifts a day for a combined 120 hours a week.
Crew A works 10-hour days Monday through Thursday. Crew B works 10-hour evening shifts Wednesday through Saturday. And Crew C – the swing shift – works days Friday and Saturday but evenings Monday and Tuesday.
The benefit, Tinson said, is that the factory is open 49 more days a year without paying overtime. Previously, production workers in the Howard County factory often were required to work Saturdays for 1 1/2 times their usual wages.
Kokomo workers will lose that overtime pay, but Chrysler officials hope the change brings them more work-life balance, Tinson said.
Chrysler has hired additional staff to make the schedule work. Tinson said the Kokomo plant has hired about 1,000 people over the last two years. She didn’t know how many are assigned to each work crew.
Chrysler has run the 3-2-120 schedule at two Michigan engine plants for several years and plans to adopt it at two more assembly plants – one in Michigan and one in Illinois.
The automaker’s plant in Windsor, Ontario, runs three shifts daily, Tinson said.
“It still doesn’t get us as much production as we get out of the 3-2-120,” she said, adding that lunch breaks and other stoppages have to be factored in.
Running only two shifts daily allows for a three-hour afternoon break, when the staff can repair and maintain equipment, Tinson said. Machines that run 24 hours a day have a greater chance of breaking down, she said, which can lead to a lot of people just standing around on the clock.

doughboy43 24th June 2012 16:30

I think this is a good thing. I regularly work 10-14 hour days and have for most of my working life and it has not hurt me (although it is a lot harder to do these days).My job for the last 17 years have been a lot of 6-7 days a week for 2/3 of the year and a more normal schedule the rest. I would welcome a schedule where I knew I would have 3 days off in a row.As a manager I can appreciate the reduction in overtime pay too so overall I think it may be a good thing for production type work if we are going to attract our overseas job back. After all more efficient production and reduced labor cost is what it will take to bring jobs back to this country and I applaud Chrysler for taking a step and sticking to it.

LoneStar 27th June 2012 09:32

I loved it when I worked 10 hour shifts. A couple extra hours isn't so bad and three days off was great. I would love to go back to 4x10 work weeks.

moddog 2nd July 2012 13:27

I was on a job that did a rolling 4 10's it was nice to have the 4 days off. But you made less over the long run and spent more having 4 days off.

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