Chrysler Employees Get Day Off to Vote — Salaried as Well as Union

Chrysler Group LLC, which recently found itself thrust into the presidential contest, gave its 64,200 U.S. employees the day off to vote, a company vice president said on Twitter.

The automaker found itself in cameos in recent ads, with Republican nominee Mitt Romney warning of Jeeps being made in China and President Barack Obama retorting that his challenger was trying to scare employees with incomplete claims.

The political back-and-forth prompted Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne to reassure employees that there are no plans to move their jobs to China.

Now comes Election Day.

“Chrysler gave its entire work force the day off to Vote Today! Let’s go! #America,” Ralph Gilles, vice president of design, wrote on Twitter this morning.

He clarified a couple of hours later that union employees at the Big Three — Chrysler, General Motors and Ford — have had Election Day off for 15 years as part of their contracts. “Logically extended to salaried workers too!” Gilles wrote.

Chrysler’s U.S. work force is spread across six assembly plants in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, and 11 parts plants in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The company’s headquarters is in Auburn Hills, 30 miles north of Detroit.

In Ohio — where the Jeep flap played out in TV ads — there are 2,792 Chrysler employees, according to company fact sheets.

Bloomberg reporter Craig Trudell contributed to this post.

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