Report: Moving Jeep out of Toledo would be "slap in the face," says union president

UAW Local 12 President says the Wrangler is part of the community and keeping it here is top priority

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Union reaction

AutoNews spoke to UAW Local 12 President Bruce Baumhower, who said moving Jeep production out of Toledo would be a slap in the face to workers.

"Our members have done everything they've been asked to do and more to meet demand for Wrangler, our community has done everything it could to meet demand for Wrangler, and this is just totally unacceptable," Baumhower told AutoNews. "They can talk about anything they want to do with how the Wrangler is made -- whether it's aluminum or a different powertrain or whatever -- but it has to be made in Toledo, in its birthplace."

Baumhower says he expects Toledo Jeep plant workers to turn out 516,000 vehicles this year - more than any other auto plant in the country.

"These guys lead the planet in world-class manufacturing," he said. "They've hit home run after home run. They don't deserve to be in a conversation that talks about taking work out of Toledo."

He says roughly 1,700 jobs are on the line if Wrangler production is moved from Toledo, but Marchionne says there will be zero impact on head count and employment levels. He has not clarified what that means for current Wrangler employees, some of whom work seven days a week, putting in 60-70 hours weekly.

"This is our bread and butter," said UAW Jeep Unit Chairman Mark Epley. "Every one of us is devastated about what's going on."

"I don't care if they make it out of aluminum, if they make it out of steel, if they make it out of whatever they're going to make it out of. It's got to be made in Toledo, Ohio. We've earned that and we're going to demand that and expect nothing less than that," said Baumhower.

"He knows we've got the best work force and we put out the best car that Chrysler's got, and I don't see them taking the Wrangler out of Toledo. Toledo Wrangler has always been here," said worker Kurt Kruger.

Baumhower says the Wrangler is part of the fabric of the community and keeping it here is top priority, but in the worst case scenario, if Wrangler moves out of Toledo, workers could still retain their jobs by working on pick-up truck overflow or possibly production of a new vehicle like the Jeep Gladiator.

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