Labor deal, better quality key to Springfield Navistar expansion

Navistar’s Springfield plant will add hundreds of jobs soon but just a few years ago workers weathered turmoil that included top management changes, legal struggles, a recession and a failed engine technology.

That turnaround is a combination of a better relationship with the UAW, a focus on quality and tough choices to cut costs, company leaders and industry experts said.

The truckmaker announced a joint agreement with GM last month to build medium-duty trucks in Springfield, along with a pledge to add at least 300 jobs over the next three years. That would push the local site close to 1,800 workers, a dramatic shift from just a few years ago when several local leaders believed the plant might close.

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