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EMPLOYEES DISCOVER DRAMATIC DIFFERENCE AT JEFFERSON NORTH

       EMPLOYEES DISCOVER DRAMATIC DIFFERENCE AT JEFFERSON NORTH
    DETROIT, Mich., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Chrysler technician Jim Malinowski dreaded punching the time clock day after day at the old Jefferson Assembly plant in Detroit, but now all that has changed.
    "After years of working on the line at the old Jefferson Assembly," said Malinowski, "I've never enjoyed my work more than I do today."
    Today, Malinowski, a team coordinator and assembly repair technician, is one of the first to begin pre-production work at Jefferson North Assembly Plant, Chrysler's newest assembly plant.
    "When I first walked into Jefferson North, I saw the clean white walls.  I saw the bright windows and the rainbow colors on the assembly lines.  It's really changed my feelings about the place I work," said Malinowski.  "You can talk all you want about Chrysler being poised for another turnaround, but walking into an assembly plant like this tells me we're making a comeback."
    Contemporary architecture, bright white siding and rolling green lawns are the outer indications that Jefferson North is dramatically different from traditional plants.
    Inside, Chrysler avoided the somber grays and greens of typical assembly plant interiors by brightening Jefferson North with white walls and conveyor lines painted in vibrant hues of magenta, teal, orange, lemon yellow and apple green.
    Each color of the assembly conveyor lines corresponds with a department in the plant.  This color coding system guides plant skilled technicians when making conveyor repairs and when tracking products from department to department, according to Jim Tyler, human resources manager at Jefferson North.
    The work force remains the only constant from the old Jefferson Assembly Plant where production work ended last spring.  With more than 900,000 collective training hours, that work force has undergone a metamorphosis, as well.
    Even the social lives of the Jefferson technicians, Chrysler's term for line workers, will be influenced by their new work place with two softball diamonds, two basketball courts, horse shoe areas and fitness centers.  Before and after their shifts, technicians can meet in landscaped courtyards.
    "The parking lots, courtyards and recreational areas are easily accessible.  We have a three-minute guideline," explained Tyler.  "No one will have to walk more than three minutes from their work station to the nearest cafeteria or from the parking area to the front door or from their job to a fitness center."
    Joint committees of United Auto Workers members and Chrysler management planned the conveniences for employees at the new plant, according to Tyler.
    Jefferson North will be among six Chrysler plants to run under the Modern Operating Agreement (MOA).  Under this agreement, union and non-union workers at Chrysler worked together under new guidelines to plan the facilities and operations at Jefferson North.
    A UAW/Chrysler committee on ergonomics and safety determined the changes for more comfortable work stations.  The plant features a tempered air system to keep the temperature 10 degrees cooler than outside temperatures in the summer.
    "This air system is very important to us because the temperature in the old plants would sometimes rise over 100 degrees," said Marv Wysiecki, a Chrysler technician and team coordinator.  "It'll be much easier to work on the line all day when the place is cooler."
    Employee health and fitness is a particularly important issue at Jefferson North because the average age of the technicians is 51. Fitness specialists will staff two fitness centers at the plant.  The centers will house weights and aerobic workout equipment.  The specialists will provide exercise advice and health tips.
    The fitness centers are a highlight of the new plant, according to Malinowski.  "Even with all the ergonomics, line work is challenging. Now instead of rushing to the back gate and driving in rush hour traffic, we can exercise, cool down, shower and relax before we head home."
    As for the dreaded time clock, employees at Jefferson North will never punch one.  Instead, a technician from each assembly line team will use time sheets to monitor the attendance of team members.
    -0-                         11/15/91
    /CONTACT:  Erika Huyck of Chrysler, 313-956-0634/
    (C) CO:  Chrysler Corporation ST:  Michigan IN:  AUT SU: SB -- DE008 -- 1425 11/15/91 10:03 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 15, 1991
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