Tipton, Indiana Fiat Chrysler worker: Company punished workers for getting injured on the job

By Eric London
25 September 2015

A Fiat Chrysler (FCA) autoworker was put on three days probationary notice as “punishment” for being injured on the job in Tipton, Indiana this week. Workers told the WSWS that the UAW had no officials at the plant at the time, allowing the company to victimize the worker.

In 2014, then-UAW Local 685 President Richard Boruff appeared onstage with Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at an event dedicating the opening of a new transmission plant in Tipton.

“I would like to thank you Sergio... You are our lifeline,” Boruff said, teary-eyed. “I thank you for allowing us to keep our dignity and raise our children as we wish.”

Little over a year has passed, and the UAW has made clear it is not interested in maintaining the dignity of the hundreds of autoworkers at the Tipton plant, or anywhere else. It is presently seeking to push through a rotten contract agreed with FCA while functioning ever more openly as an arm of corporate management.

The World Socialist Web Site interviewed a Tipton autoworker who described what happened Wednesday night.

“We had no union representation at our plant at all last night. We were under the impression that that was what our dues paid for.

“We had people getting written up for being injured. One of the people I work with was written up without any union representation. That is not okay. The union was put in place to protect us, and if that protection isn’t going to be provided, I want answers why.

“The informational meeting this morning in Kokomo [next to Tipton] was extremely tense. When I asked [Local 685 President Carl] Greenwood, he turned his back and walked off the stage. Would not even give a reply.

“Greenwood didn’t want to pay to send someone to Tipton. As a result, one of my coworkers, one of the hardest workers you’ll ever meet, was literally doing her job and was injured. Fell and busted her knee. Because we had no union representative to take care of it, she went to medical to get taken care of and management wrote her up and put her on three days probationary notice because there was no one there to protect her. She was injured while working, doing her job, and it’s not okay that she got written up. I take that personally.

“Everybody is enraged about this. Last night the morale was so bad because the workers all knew. Management threatened to write up entire teams for reasons such as ‘guilty by association’. It’s not okay. Our union president left us vulnerable, like sitting ducks. You cannot leave the workers vulnerable.

“It's enraging to see that after our union dues were raised for a strike which is never going to happen. My list of problems with this national contract keeps growing and growing.

“The majority of Tipton workers are voting ‘no.’ I’ve only heard of two people who are going to vote ‘yes.’ It’s a big deal to know that there are so many people advocating against this national contract because it is not put in place for us. You hear things like the 25 percent cap of tier-two employees, with the rest supposed to be raised to tier-one, that never happened. This is not negotiation, it’s selling out.

“I am a third-generation Chrysler worker and this union is not what my grandfather and my father helped build.”

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