Navistar has announced plans to lay off 170 workers at a facility in Melrose Park, Ill., as it ceases all engine production at that facility by the second quarter of 2018.
“Ending production anywhere is a difficult decision because it affects employees,” said Persio Lisboa, chief operating officer for Navistar, in a statement. “We continue to be committed to investing in our Melrose Park facility as we complete its transformation into a technical center that is integral to our product design, engineering and sales teams. Given the investments we’ve made, we expect to have a significant presence in Melrose Park for years to come.”
The decision isn’t expected to impact workers in Springfield, said Lyndi McMillan, a spokeswoman for the company.
The layoffs will affect about 140 line workers and about 30 managerial and other positions in Illinois, McMillan said.
Navistar is a major employer in Springfield, where it employs about 1,500 workers. Thousands of the company’s retirees also live in the area.
Jason Barlow, president of the UAW Local 402, which represents the majority of workers in Springfield, also said the company’s decision won’t impact the local workforce.
The engines produced at the Melrose Park facility are typically used in box trucks, including those produced in Springfield, McMillan said. But she said the decision means those trucks will be equipped with a different engine.
Most of the hourly workers impacted by the layoff are retirement eligible, according to information from the company. Assistance and opportunities for retraining will also be offered.
The engines produced at Melrose Park were a niche product and it was no longer viable for the company to continue to manufacture the product, McMillan said. The decision will reduce Navistar’s operating costs by about $12 million annually, according to information from the company.
“As we approach future regulatory requirements, the low volume nature of the platform could not justify further product development investments on it,” Lisboa said.
The Springfield News-Sun has provided award-winning coverage on Navistar’s impact on the region, including coverage of the company’s decisions to add jobs at its facility in Springfield and negotions between the company and members of the United Auto Workers.