Navistar and UAW continue to work toward new contract. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

Navistar, UAW continue to work as contract details are negotiated

Navistar and the local labor union are continuing to negotiate a contract even though a deadline set for this week has passed.

A statement on Navistar’s website dedicated to providing information on labor contracts said the company offered a six-year contract to the UAW but it was voted down.

“The ratification vote took place on December 2, 2018, and the membership voted to reject the terms of the proposed agreement,” the statement says. “We are disappointed in this decision and do not believe it is in the best interest for any of the involved parties. By its terms, the company’s proposal expires if it is not ratified and accepted by the union membership by December 10, 2018. Navistar continues to be committed to working with the UAW on solutions, and to reaching an agreement that helps all employees work as a team to competitively build our vehicles, run our plants and win in the market.”

According to UAW Local 402’s website, the union voted down the contract with 98 percent of the vote.

Chris Blizard, president of the UAW Local 402, said the union is continuing to work hard to make sure the best deal can be reached.

“The UAW international unions along with input from the UAW policy counsel leadership are actively working on the outstanding issues with Navistar leadership,” Blizard said. “We are committed to obtaining a fair and equitable labor contract for our membership.”

Blizard declined further comment.

A letter dated Monday and posted on the Local 402 website by Secretary-Treasurer and Director UAW Heavy Truck Department Ray Curry provided a Tuesday deadline.

“This is to inform you that we are still on a contract extension,” the letter says. “Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to reach an agreement. The recent vote on the Company’s final offer has been rejected by the collective Master Agreement locations. The Extension Agreement will expire on December 4, 2018 at 12:00 noon central time.”

The company is a significant employer locally, with about 1,800 workers in the facility. Thousands of the company’s retirees also live in the area.

The News-Sun reported earlier this year the industry is seeing near-record demand for heavy trucks, boosting revenue both for manufacturers like Navistar and their suppliers. Rising freight rates mean trucking firms are likely seeing solid profits, boosting confidence and encouraging fleets to replace their aging trucks.

Last month, Navistar has launched a new medium-duty truck built in Springfield that is designed to be used in a variety of industries. The new Class 4, 5 and 6 chassis cab trucks are aimed at fleet and commercial customers, according to information from the company.

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