Length of GM strike will determine if there is an impact on Navistar

The impact that a strike by more than 50,000 General Motors workers will have on Navistar’s truck plant in Springfield depends on several factors, a local union representative, said Monday.

Those factors include the length of the strike and which GM facilities are affected by the strike, said Chris Blizard, president of UAW Local 402.

Navistar produces medium-duty GM trucks on its main line in Springfield and cutaway vans for the company on its line two. Some of the parts for those vehicles are sent to Navistar by GM suppliers.

United Auto Workers authorized a strike against GM that started on Monday amid contract negations between the union and the vehicle manufacturer. The parties failed to reach an agreement on a new four-year contract and approximately 50,000 workers across the country are taking part in the strike, according to the Associated Press.

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Blizard said all of the workers he represents in Springfield are Navistar employees and are not participating in the strike called by the chapters of UAW that represent GM workers.

Representatives of Navistar did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Other local manufacturers who supply various automotive companies say it is too early to tell what effects the strike will have on the industry.

“From experience with the industry, the variable is how long the strike will last. (GM) will have a certain amount of product in their supply chain,” said Ross McGregor, a former state representative and executive vice president of Pentaflex, an auto parts maker in Springfield.

McGregor said his company does not work closely with GM.

However, he said if the strike is short lived “it shouldn’t have a serious affect on the supply chain” and therefore would not have a serious impact on companies that do work with GM.

On Monday, Navistar increased the number of units produced on its line two in Springfield, Blizard said. The line produces vans for GM.

Blizard said the decision to increase the number of GM vans made in Springfield has helped offset the number of workers affected by layoffs this month.

MORE: UAW authorizes strike against GM: Here's what it could mean for Dayton

Navistar plans to layoff 136 assembly production workers at its Springfield facility by the end of the month. The layoffs follow the company’s decision to reduce the amount of units produced on the plant’s main line, which makes medium-duty commercial trucks, including those for GM.

Lyndi McMillan, a spokeswoman for Navistar, said in an email to the News-Sun last month, that the reduction is an attempt to realign production with current demand.

“This cycle is normal for our business, and this is not a shift of production to other locations,” she said in the email.

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