Contract extension between UAW, Navistar could end tomorrow

Navistar International Springfield Ohio. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF September 21 2018

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Navistar International Springfield Ohio. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF September 21 2018

Members of the United Auto Workers recently agreed to temporarily extend the terms of their existing contract with Navistar, but UAW officials in Detroit said that extension could end tomorrow.

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The existing agreements were scheduled to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Oct., 1, according to a Navistar website set up to provide updates on the negotiations. Both parties had previously agreed to an extension to allow "for additional discussions on key issues," according to information from the site.

But the union has notified the company that the extension could end tomorrow, and local officials said it’s not yet clear what that will mean for the company’s workforce in Springfield.

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“The agreement was extended by agreement of both parties on Oct. 1 and as I understand it the parties are still in discussions and hopeful of obtaining a new collective bargaining agreement,” said Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for the UAW’s office in Detroit. “But the notice to end the extension I believe is tomorrow.”

Company officials also declined to provide further details on the status of negotiaions, or the possibility of a work stoppage if the extension ends Tuesday.

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“We do not have any comment on a work stoppage in Springfield,” said Megan Troppito, a spokeswoman for Navistar. “We are presently operating under a contract extension agreed to by both the UAW and Navistar.”

Troppito referred the newspaper to a Navistar website set up to provide updates on the negotiations. That site did not provide any further updates on the status of negotiations or the possibility the extension might end.

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Chris Blizard, president of the UAW Local 402, said the union provided a 24-hour notice that the agreement is not being extended, but said it’s still not clear what that will mean for workers in Springfield or whether that could mean a work stoppage. Blizard declined frther comment until more details are available.

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.

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