Belvidere Chrysler Workers React

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

The president of the U.A.W. calls the Chrysler sale "in the best interest of U.A.W. members." But that's not what you'll hear from many workers at Belvidere'a plant.
Right now local and national analysts are issuing reassuring statements to Chrysler employees.
"I don't think it's any cause for panic whatsoever. I don't think you're going to see any job losses at all at Belvidere," says John McElroy, host of Autoline Detroit, the nation's longest running weekly program discussing the inner workings of the auto industry.
But analysts aren't doing much to calm the nerves of many Belvidere workers as they left their shifts Monday.
"I'm not happy about it at all we may lose a lot of jobs, a lot of cuts," says Belvidere Chrysler worker Erica Wilcox.
Belvidere worker Jon Parks adds, "They're saying that there's not going to be any additional job cuts other than what's already been announced but anybody can say that before a deal goes through."
Daimler Chrysler said in a statement Chrysler would keep its heavy obligations for pensions and healthcare costs. But analysts say that may be a harder promise to keep.
"We know that one of the things that's been hurting Chrysler and G.M. and Ford is their healthcare and their pension costs," says McElroy.
"I'm kinda concerned cause I'm worried about the insurance and all that stuff what they're gonna do with it," says Belvidere worker Gerald Koplin.
Despite their concerns, Belvidere workers are trying to stay optimistic that the sale could help their ailing company.
"It's the natural thing, when things aren't going well changes are going to be made, so hopefully the change isn't that we're all out the door," says Parks.
The Belvidere assembly plant currently employs about four thousand workers working three shifts. The plant also has 936 robots that assist in production of the plant's three vehicles.


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