A look inside the Navistar International truck plant in Springfield.

Local Navistar workers to vote on tentative six-year deal

Navistar said Tuesday the company has a tentative six-year deal with members of the United Auto Workers, who will vote Sunday on whether to ratify the contract.

Officials from both the company and the national UAW declined to provide any further details about the potential contract Tuesday.

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“No details of the tentative agreement will be communicated publicly prior to the ratification vote, which will take place on Dec. 16, 2018,” the company said on a website that provides updates about the negotiations. “We are confident that this agreement will help us work as a team to competitively build our vehicles, run our plants and win in the market.”

Chris Blizard, president of the UAW Local 402, which represents the majority of workers in Springfield, declined to provide further details of the agreement because members are still learning details of the proposed deal. Michael McDorman, president and CEO of the Chamber of Greater Springfield, also declined comment until after Sunday’s vote.

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The UAW said on its site that more information will be available to its members later this week as part of the ratification process.

“Out of respect for our members the UAW will not release details until UAW Navistar members have had a chance to be fully informed and review the details in the proposed tentative agreement,” the union said on its website.

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This is the second time this month that members of the labor union will vote on a potential contract. The Springfield News-Sun reported last week that the UAW voted to reject a separate agreement on Dec. 2.

According to the UAW ‘s website, the union voted down that contract with 98 percent of the vote.

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The company is a significant employer locally, with close to 2,000 workers in the facility. Thousands of the company’s retirees also live in the area.

Last month, Navistar 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.

The company has invested millions in new equipment in Springfield over the past several years to revamp the interior of the facility and streamline its manufacturing processes. The company has made a significant turnaround over the past several years. Navistar had as few as 300 workers in Springfield as recently as 2010, but has since rebounded financially and hired hundreds of workers back into the facility.

Troy Clarke, Navistar’s president and CEO, told investors earlier this year he expects strong financial results to continue into 2019 as the industry is seeing near-record demand for heavy trucks. Workers at Navistar’s Springfield facility produce medium, severe service and heavy duty commercial trucks, as well as the GM cutaway van on a separate line.

The latest agreement between Navistar and the UAW was a four-year deal that expired in October this year. Both sides have been operating under the terms of the existing contract during the latest negotiations.

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