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Chrysler on bathrooms: Take your time
Car maker says it has no plans to follow Ford plant in monitoring restroom breaks.
October 31, 2005: 7:19 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - If assembly-line workers at Chrysler Group plants gotta go to the bathroom, they can take their time, according to a Web posting by a top executive.

Jason Vines, the automaker's vice president of communications, says on his corporate Weblog that the North American division of DaimlerChrysler (Research) doesn't plan to monitor workers' bathroom breaks.

The statement is an apparent response to the Detroit News disclosure last week that trips to the lavatory are being monitored at a Ford Motor (Research) plant in Wayne, Mich., in an effort to cut costs at the beleaguered automaker.

"We're not gonna use a stopwatch, turning a natural function into an Olympic sport," said Vines on his blog. "That ... would just be ... well ... too anal."

The posting said Chrysler employees have 46 minutes per shift for bathroom time. Ford employees at the Michigan Truck plant have 48 minutes, according to a report in last week's Detroit News. Vines said that U.S. plants of Japanese automakers allow only 30 minutes per shift in the bathroom.

"That's quite a difference in, um, line speed," said Vines' posting.

"It's no secret that the longer plant workers are on the job, the better it is for productivity," the posting said. "On the other hand, you have to admit, U.S. auto companies are pretty magnanimous in agreeing to a more leisurely, quality rest room respite."

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