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A Detroit television news crew caught workers at Chrysler's Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit drinking during their breaks. The company says it has identified some of the workers and suspended them. ((Paul Sancya/Associated Press))

Chrysler has suspended a group of auto assembly plant workers filmed by a Detroit television news station drinking alcohol and smoking what appeared to be marijuana during their lunch breaks.

Fox News Detroit received a tip from a worker at Chrysler's Jefferson North plant and followed about a dozen men for 10 days during their 11 a.m. lunch breaks.

The news crew recorded the workers leaving the plant, going to a convenience store to buy alcohol and taking it to a nearby park to drink and smoke. Fox News reported that the workers followed this routine on 10 separate days.

Scott Garberding, the automaker's senior vice-president of manufacturing, was shown the footage and told Fox News the workers' behaviour is "totally unacceptable."      

'Very, very disturbed'

"I'm very, very disturbed about what I just saw in the video and I want to make it clear that we at Chrysler take it very seriously," Garberding said. "For us this behaviour is totally unacceptable and will be dealt with swiftly. In fact, we've already identified a few of the people involved in this incident. Each of them has been suspended indefinitely without pay, pending further investigation. We'll continue to pursue this, in fact, until we're done." 

The Jefferson North plant employs more than 2,800 people and was visited less than two months ago by President Barack Obama. In a statement sent to Fox News, a United Auto Workers spokesman said the union strongly opposes the use of alcohol or controlled substances during work hours.

"The employees involved in this situation do not represent the vast majority of workers at Chrysler who do a great job making high-quality vehicles," said the union statement. "This type of behaviour jeopardizes the health and safety of all employees."