A look inside the Navistar International truck plant in Springfield.

New six-year deal provides stability to Navistar and union

Members of the United Auto Workers said Monday the union has approved a six-year deal with Navistar, which local officials said will provide workers in Springfield with needed stability as the truck maker continues its financial rebound.

The new deal, ratified by union members over the weekend, includes highlights like a $2,000 signing bonus, a $1,000 profit-sharing payout, and a 4-percent lump sum payment for workers this year and 3-percent lump sum payments in 2020 and 2022, according to information from the UAW.

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“Navistar members negotiated a solid agreement under tough circumstances with clear gains,” said UAW President Gary Jones in a news release. “We’re proud of the work they’ve done and the well-deserved contract they received.”

The new deal also includes pension plan improvements, the elimination of tiered wages and language to keep the contract intact in case the company is sold or merged. Navistar officials did not comment on the new agreement Monday.

Chris Blizard, president of the UAW Local 402 in Springfield, confirmed the national contract was ratified over the weekend. The UAW Local 402 is still negotiating a separate agreement with the company that includes issues such as work rules at the Springfield plant, but declined further comment Monday until more details are available. The UAW represents the majority of the company’s workers in Springfield.

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

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“This is a great deal for Springfield,” said Michael McDorman, president and CEO of the Chamber of Greater Springfield. “A six-year contract brings stability to the company that has lacked that opportunity for well over a decade.”

A four-year deal between the UAW and Navistar expired in October this year, so the new six-year deal means the workers will have had a decade of labor peace by the time this latest deal ends. The national agreement covers Navistar Local 6 and 2293 in Melrose Park; Ill., Local 472 in Atlanta; Local 119 in Dallas; Local 1872 in York, Pa. and Local 402 and 658 in Springfield. Local 658 is a clerical unit.

The News-Sun has previously reported 2018 was an important year for the manufacturing firm’s workers in Springfield. Along with finalizing a new contract 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.

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Navistar launched a new medium-duty Silverado truck later earlier this year that is being built by workers in Springfield. The new Class 4, 5 and 6 chassis cab trucks, which will be aimed at fleet and commercial customers, launched later in the fall as part of a partnership with GM.

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 rebounded and has continued to boost employment over the previous four years of the past contract.

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The company announced a strong third quarter earlier this year reporting net income of $170 million compared to about $37 million at the same time last year. Navistar is expected to release its fourth quarter financial results today in a conference call with investors.

“It’s a win for Clark County whenever a pillar of our economy, like Navistar, recommits to Springfield and our workforce,” said Melanie Wilt, Clark County commissioner. “We celebrate with the employees and management as they sign a new agreement.”

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