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Warren issues overblown?

Warren Truck plant

A recent Detroit News article pointed to quality problems at Warren Truck, concerning 2013 Rams being built, and claimed in the headline, but not in the text, that these issues were the result of a labor dispute. The quality problems are reducing output but should not affect customers, as vehicles are being held at the plant for repairs rather than sent to dealerships.

Long and rotating shifts have often been related to quality and safety issues, due to fatigue. There is no evidence, though, that people are the cause for these problems; new vehicles usually have teething problems as production starts, which is one reason why manufacturers tend to slowly ramp up rather than jumping in at full speed.

Detroit News cited an hour, yesterday, when 16 of 58 pickups built passed final inspection. The cause of the defects was not mentioned, and any of a number of automated or manual processes, or bad parts supplied by another plant or vendor, could have been the issue. There has, to date, been no evidence that plant workers are deliberately or accidentally reducing quality; and often failures are due to equipment failures which affect vehicles one after another, rather than randomly.

The article’s title, “Warren labor dispute hurts Ram output,” makes the assumption that there is a deliberate attempt to cut quality or productivity by workers, due to an unsanctioned protest by around two dozen employees outside the plant. The only evidence in the article is a quote from one of these protesters, who said there had been some quality problems, and, “The morale is terrible, so it’s not going to get any better.” It appears as though the headline writer’s conclusion is coming either from their personal opinion, or from interpreting that comment in the worst possible light.

A Chrysler spokesman said that a thousand new workers are being trained now, and will start next week.

Additional: A source within Chrysler has inquired and was told that none of the issues involved can be attributed to labor disputes.


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