Consumer Activists, Teamsters Take Fiat/Chrysler Protest to Detroit Auto Show

Jan 23, 2010, 16:00 ET from International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Move to Cut-rate Carhaulers Destroys Jobs, Can Cause Hidden Car Damage

DETROIT, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, members of Teamster Local 299 and consumer activists attended the North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center to protest Fiat/Chrysler and its attempt to move away from America's longtime professional carhaul companies to cheaper, less-experienced carriers.

Protesters' t-shirts and leaflets read, "Fiat/Chrysler: Damaged When Delivered?", referring to the report, "Damaged When Delivered?" available at and endorsed by non-profit organizations Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), Consumer Action and the Teamsters.  

The report contains photographic evidence of the substandard and careless practices being used by alternative carriers to deliver new cars and trucks to auto dealers. The pictures, all taken recently, show the mistakes performed by these carriers and independent contractors that can endanger new vehicles' frames, suspensions, tires, and more.

"It is not surprising that consumer activists and carhaul drivers whose jobs are at risk have joined together to take action against Fiat/Chrysler," said Teamster Local 299 President Kevin Moore.  "Fiat/Chrysler received $14 billion from American taxpayers and instead of building trust is eliminating good jobs and replacing them with brokerage firms that do not offer contractors enough money to afford health or retirement benefits.

On top of that, they are putting the public at risk by hiring inexperienced workers to do a job that if done wrong can create hazards to drivers or cause damage to new cars."

CARS and Consumer Action are opposed to these moves as well, stating "one of the most insidious problems American car buyers face is undisclosed damage to new vehicles, which may occur while they are being transported to dealership lots."

In the report, CARS and Consumer Action call on Fiat/Chrysler to "reverse direction and instead of cutting corners on auto shipping, take more steps to ensure that their new vehicles are not damaged en route to dealerships. The car buying public deserves no less."  

One of the protesters was CARS member Christina Catalano, whose mother was killed by a defective Chrysler product.

"Chrysler refused to take responsibility for my mother's death," Catalano said. "They hid behind the bailout and the bankruptcy process to avoid dealing with our claims. We're here because they're not taking responsibility for their customers or the carhaul workers."

Teamsters Carhaul Division Director Fred Zuckerman said, "To save a few dollars per car, they are going to destroy a stable industry that provides good jobs and benefits. And they are also risking their new cars arriving at dealerships with hidden damages due to these cut-rate carriers hauling their vehicles improperly and unsafely."

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was founded in 1903 and represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters