It was a close call to save the Chrysler group's assembly and stamping plants in Sterling Heights, Mich., says Nate Gooden, a UAW vice president.
Chrysler "seriously discussed" sending assembly of its next-generation mid-sized cars to Mexico, says Gooden, director of the union's DaimlerChrysler department.
"We were on the borderline," he says of Sterling Heights. "We knew we had to make some changes."
Last week Chrysler said it will invest $506 million in the two plants to build replacements for the Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Sebring beginning in the 2007 model year.
The union has agreed to work teams and fewer job classifications. The company and the union continue to negotiate the number of classifications, Gooden says.
The renovated assembly plant will be equipped to build up to five models. It will have the flexibility also to build Chrysler's next generation of small cars replacing the Dodge Neon, says Tom LaSorda, Chrysler COO. The assembly and stamping plants employ 5,100 workers.
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