(New York Times) — They are a cornerstone of Chrysler’s unlikely comeback: 900 employees turning out a Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle every 48 seconds of the working day at an assembly plant here. Nothing distinguishes them from other workers at the Jefferson North plant, except their paychecks. The newest workers earn about $14 an hour; longtime employees earn double that. With the economy slumping and job creation once again a pressing issue in the White House and Congress, the advent of a two-tier wage system in Detroit is spiking employment for one of the country’s most important manufacturing industries. The new jobs, which are seen as long term, are being watched closely by economists, executives in other industries and Washington policy makers eager to increase employment in manufacturing and other areas. For many, the opportunity for steady employment is welcome, even at a lower wage and with no certainty when it might increase.
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