SPRINGFIELD — In anticipation of the expiration of the master contract between Navistar International, Inc. and the United Auto Workers union, the company issued a worker adjustment retraining notification anticipating mass layoffs in Springfield.
The WARN notice filed Monday, Aug. 2, with Ohio Department of Job and Family Services states up to 370 workers may be laid off on or about Oct. 4.
Those workers are members of UAW Local 402 and 658.
The initiation date of the notice coincides roughly with the Oct. 1 expiration date of the master contract between UAW members and the company.
“Since that’s the expiration date, we need to be able to fill orders and there is the possibility that work may need to be diverted to other facilities. ...We have to continue to serve our customers. ...The reason behind the company’s issuance of the WARN notice is so we have contingences,” said Roy Wiley, Navistar spokesperson.
Local union members were surprised by the WARN announcement, with many now questioning their future, said Jason Barlow, president of UAW Local 402.
“It’s ironic that the WARN notice was issued at the end of the term of our contract,” he said.
If the WARN notice becomes a reality, up to 370 of the remaining 557 active UAW workers on the plant will be laid off.
The layoffs will impact 67 UAW members at the Truck Service Center, located across the road from the Springfield production facility and the 67 members of UAW Local 658, which represents clerical and technical workers.
The remaining approximately 180 UAW members work in the cab assembly, stamping and E coat painting facility.
In a separate layoff action, just over 40 UAW workers were laid off at the TSC effective Monday, Aug. 2, because there are too few trucks coming into the facility right now.
Barlow said 20 employees are expected to be recalled next week and the remainder should be recalled within three weeks.
What is a WARN Notice?
A federally-mandated announcement of possible or definite plant closings and mass layoffs. Companies are required to issue a WARN notice the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Bureau of Workforce Investment Act, Rapid Response Section, 60 calendar days in advance of any action.
What does it mean for Springfield?
Navistar’s issuance of the WARN notice means mass layoffs are possible if a master contract has not been negotiated between UAW members and the company by Oct. 1. If no contract exists, union workers are not permitted to remain on the production line and work will be diverted to other Navistar facilities.
What happens next?
UAW officials and company representatives will begin the official contract negotiation process on Aug. 23 in an attempt to have negotiations completed by the Oct. 1 deadline.