Navistar reduces truck production in Springfield, lays off 106 workers

Navistar announced on Friday that it would be laying off additional workers at its Springfield assembly plant after reducing the number of trucks produced at the facility per day.

“In order to realign production with the current demand for our products, we will be adjusting line rates at our Springfield Assembly plant. This action is normal due to the cyclical nature of our business,”said Navistar spokesperson Lyndi McMillan in an email to the News-Sun.

The company reduced the number of trucks assembled daily on its main line, including those for General Motors, from 97 to 70 earlier this week, said Chris Blizard, the president of UAW Local 402. His union represents assembly production workers there as well as those in skilled trades.

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At least 106 of those workers worked their last day at the plant on Friday and Blizard said there may be more layoffs next week. However, there has not been an official announcement from the company regarding future layoffs.

The News-Sun reported last year that the number of medium and heavy-duty trucks being built have surpassed demand nationally. Some companies are beginning to adjusted their production rates as a result.

In September, a reduction in the number of trucks produced on Navistar’s main producti0n line in Springfield led to 126 workers being laid off that month.

Late last year, the company—during a conference call regarding earnings for 2019— projected lower revenues for this year and adjusted earnings totals as it appears that customers are expected to place fewer orders.

The company reported an overall net income of $221 million for the 2019 fiscal year and revenues of $11.25 billion. For 2020, Navistar expects to make between $9.25 billion and $9.75 billion in revenues.

Navistar first announced that is was looking to reduce line speed further at its Springfield plant in November. At the time, local union officials said that move would be a violation of their current contract with the company. They argued that contract language states a minimum of 90 trucks a day are to be built on the plant’s main line.

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Blizard said, at the time, that union officials were in talks with the company over that issue.

During that same month the company eliminated a second shift in several non-production departments. That included eliminating second shift for the plant’s paint department as well.

That move led to 30 UAW Local 402 members being laid off that month and an additional 62 in December.

Last month, Navistar also announced that it would temporarily stop production on the plant’s line two, that makes cutaway vans for GM, for several weeks beginning on Jan. 2.

Navistar officials said that decision is due to a retooling at GM’s plant in Wentzville, Mo., that makes cabs for the GM vans assembled in Springfield.

Blizard said, at the time, that at least 180 people would be temporarily out of work until production resumed on the line.

The Springfield News-Sun has provided award-winning coverage of Navistar and the company’s impact on the region’s workforce. Recent Navistar coverage includes reviewing the company’s latest financial reports, talking to union officials and local economic experts.

By the numbers:

106: Number of assembly production workers laid off from Navistar’s Springfield plant this week

70: Amount of trucks built per day on the Springfield plant’s main line

$11.25 billion: Navistar revenues for fiscal year 2019

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