A look inside the Navistar International truck plant in Springfield.

Navistar lays off 30 workers at Springfield plant, weighs reducing production

Another group of Navistar workers in Springfield will be laid off on Friday following a series of layoffs in September.

The new layoffs at the plant, which makes medium-duty commercial trucks and vans, will affect 30 assembly production workers, according to a bulletin sent by the UAW Local 402 union on Wednesday.

That union represents those workers affected by the layoffs and consist of production workers and those with skilled trades at Navistar’s Springfield plant.

The company also announced this month that it may reduce the number of trucks it builds at its Springfield plant starting next year.

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Local union officials said in the bulletin that the reason for the layoffs is “because we are over on manpower due to the elimination of second shift a few weeks ago” in several non-production departments.

They said that is what representatives of Navistar told the union’s bargaining chairman. The company did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Chris Blizard, the president of the local union, said layoffs at the plant are usually based on seniority. He said that means those affected by the shift elimination were moved to other departments, based on their years employed at the plant.

None of the workers who will be laid off this week have been with the company for more than 14 months, Blizard added.

Last week, representatives of Navistar notified local union leaders in Springfield that they were looking to reduce the number of trucks built on the plant’s main line to 70. That line currently produces 97 trucks per day, Blizard said, and the move to reduce that number would be in violation of the union’s current contract agreement with the company.

Blizard said contract language states a minimum of 90 trucks a day are to be produced on the plant’s main line and union officials are working on getting that issue resolved with Navistar officials.

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Navistar also announced that it’s line two, which makes cutaway vans for GM, would possibly be down for two to three weeks in January due to a retooling at GM’s plant in Wentzville, Missouri that makes cabs for GM vans, according to the bulletin.

“Please prepare yourself in the event the company decides to lay off additional members in the next few months. We can hope for the best but need to prepare for the worse,” the bulletin sent Local 402 members said.

The union will be holding a meeting on Tuesday at its hall on Urbana Road for members affected by the layoffs. The meeting will start at 9 a.m., and representatives from Ohio Means Jobs and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services will be present, Blizard said.

The company laid off 126 assembly production workers in September due to a reduction in units produced on the plant’s main line, which makes medium-duty commercial trucks, including those for General Motors.

Also during that month a nationwide strike at General Motors caused a shortage in parts at Navistar’s Springfield Plant. The strike lasted for almost six weeks and Navistar stopped production on both its assembly lines in Springfield.

The move left about 1,400 workers at the plant temporarily out of work. However, both lines resumed production in the beginning of November earlier this month following the end of the strike.

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