Chrysler Gives Its Employees The Day Off To Vote On Election Day

11/06/2012 05:00 pm ET
  • Bonnie Kavoussi Master's student in economics, the University of Michigan

Workers at one major automaker didn't have to worry about taking time out of their workday to vote on Tuesday.

Chrysler, on its own initiative, gave all of its 55,000 U.S. employees the day off on Tuesday to vote, according to Ralph Gilles, vice president of design at Chrysler.

The United Auto Workers (UAW), which represents about half of U.S. Chrysler workers, laid the groundwork for the move. UAW members at Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have gotten federal election day off since 2000, a right they won through their collective bargaining power. Tuesday's election day is no exception, according to the three companies' UAW holiday schedules.

Republican Party officials vocally opposed the three firms' agreement to give these workers election day off, since they worried it would increase Democrats' turnout in swing states, according to a 1999 New York Times article.

Gilles told The Huffington Post via direct message on Twitter that Chrysler chose to give all of its employees the day off to vote "out of fairness." He said that the holiday "makes sense for factory people working 10 hr shifts." As for the company's white-collar workers, he said, "the business can't run well with 3/4 of it shut down." He also wrote the following on Twitter:

A number of people on Twitter applauded Chrysler's move to give its workers the day off. Here is a sampling:

(Hat tip: Politico.)

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