Future of Navistar’s Chatham plant remains precarious

Navistar International Corp. (NAV) said it could decide by summer whether it will need to restart an idled assembly plant in Canada.

Chairman and Chief Executive Daniel Ustian said the company has sufficient truck-making capacity at the moment, but might need the Chatham, Ont., plant if truck orders continue to trend higher through next year.

“Do we need another manufacturing facility? We don’t know the answer to that,” Ustian said Wednesday during a conference call with analysts. “At least in the short term, likely no. We’re not capacity-limited on making trucks.”

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Navistar Makes No Move to Re-Open Plant, Governments Must Step in, CAW says

TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ – Following months of uncertainty, the bargaining committees from CAW Local 35 and CAW Local 127 met with senior levels of management from Navistar Thursday in Windsor, Ontario. The meeting was requested by the union, as part of its ongoing attempt to have Navistar reopen the Chatham truck facility. The corporation has been demanding massive concessions, significantly reducing the production and jobs at the facility. This facility once employed over 2000 workers and now risks being reduced to less than 100 workers. The corporation maintains that the plant will only be used for cab production, with no trim or paint facilities being utilized. To add insult to injury, the popular Class 8 Prostar and Lonestar which were engineered and built in Chatham will no longer be built there. These were premium trucks that had top quality and were well received by consumers.
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CAW Calls for Government Intervention after Fruitless Meeting with Navistar

WINDSOR and TORONTO, Aug. 19 /CNW/ – The CAW is calling for the Ontario government to intervene in the more than year-long stand-off between the union and heavy truck manufacturer Navistar Corporation, after talks today failed to make any progress.

The CAW called the meeting with Navistar in an attempt to resolve the temporary closure of the plant and explore ways to maximize production at the facility, but the discussions failed to produce any resolutions.

The company did not provide any plans for the future of the facility but has pledged to provide a detailed and formal response within two weeks.

“Navistar Corporation has to understand that to manage change in a workplace it must be done in conjunction with the workers. Those who are affected by these changes must be treated with respect and dignity,” said CAW President Ken Lewenza, following the meeting.

“It is unconscionable that this corporation is allowed to send the historic production, supported by Ontario and Canadian tax dollars, to a foreign country like Mexico. The meeting today and all the meetings to this point have been extremely frustrating and now we will wait for the corporation’s response within the next two weeks.”

“This situation cannot be resolved through collective bargaining and requires significant intervention by the government.”

Navistar temporarily closed the facility in June 2009, laying off its entire workforce after a breakdown in negotiations between the two sides.

The company’s latest proposal includes reducing the workforce down to fewer than 100 people and with historic assembly work performed at the plant outsourced to Mexico. The collective agreement expired on June 30, 2009.

For further information: CAW Local 127 President Aaron Neaves, 519-350-1031; Chairpersons Cathy Wiebenga, 519-436-5184 and Sonny Galea, 519-809-2240

Union gets foot in door with Navistar officials

There is a glimmer of hope for the Navistar International Truck and Engine plant in Chatham.

Aaron Neaves, president of CAW Local 127, said the union found out late Monday afternoon the company has finally responded to its request to meet soon for “exploratory discussions.

“That’s all we can tell you right now,” he told reporters outside Chatham-Kent council chambers after hearing a brief report on what economic development has done over the last month to help with the situation.

He added the membership needs to be informed of the date before it’s made public.

Neaves said he is “very cautiously optimistic,” but stressed they’re only exploratory discussions.

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Post script …

Talks regarding the future of Navistar’s Richmond Street truck plant are scheduled for Aug. 19.

“These discussions are in an effort to feel the climate of the company’s intentions for our future,” said Cathy Wiebenga and Sonny Galea, in a joint media release Tuesday.

Wiebenga is plant chairwoman for the CAW Local 127 Navistar unit and Galea represents CAW Local 35 Navistar unit.

The talks are aimed at moving the company back to discussions with locals 127 and 35, the bargaining committees and the national union.

“The committee is committed to all options that exist for both locals,” said the union representatives.

They said an update for the membership will be provided following the meeting.

Company spokesman Roy Wiley has said repeatedly the company is willing to talk provided the talks are productive.

After $62 million and one year, Chatham truck plant is still idle

The Navistar assembly plant in Chatham, which received about $62 million in taxpayers’ money to stay open, has hit the one-year mark without making a heavy truck.

The plant reached the dubious anniversary for non-production today as more workers drift away and their union renews efforts for a reopening.

“It’s sombre,” said Aaron Neaves, president of Canadian Auto Workers Local 127, about the mood of employees. “But it’s still somewhat cautiously optimistic.”

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So, where’s the warm and fuzzy Navistar feeling in Chatham?

Posted by Ian:

A feel good story from Navistar in the heart of Dixie. So why are Chatham employees pounding the pavement for months on end with no future in sight? A whole different approach in Alabama …

Like many companies in these tough times, Navistar Diesel of Alabama, faced severe layoffs this January, but unlike other companies, it devised a way to keep employees on the payroll. Instead of laying off workers, plant manager Chuck Sibley kept them on, and loaned them out to local charities — saving the jobs of 50 people, who would have been laid off.

“We knew last July we were going to have a problem, that we’re going to have too many people and we weren’t going to have work for them in January,” Sibley told ABC News. “I woke up at 3 a.m. in the morning, trying to figure out what I am going to do with everybody, and it just popped into my head that I could get them to do community work because we knew this was going to be a temporary thing.” He approached the president of the engine group, and the ball began rolling.

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Idle Chatham plant gets little hope from Navistar

Top Navistar officials talked about brighter profit prospects Wednesday but offered no new insight on the future of the company’s idle truck assembly plant in Chatham that has kept employees off the job for almost 8 1/2 months.

Many Navistar employees, who earned an average of about $24 an hour, have started to look for new work or careers because of the lengthy shutdown and no sign of a resumption of operations, according to union officials.

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Navistar set to slash staff, production in Canada

Posted by Ian:
We’ve been down this road in St. Thomas with Sterling Trucks, and now Chatham is about to find out there is no turning back when head office wants to shift production to Mexico. Today appears to be the beginning of the end for Navistar in that city as the once bustling plant becomes little more than a kit shop.

TORONTO, June 29 (Reuters) – Navistar International Corp (NAV.N) is set to significantly reduce its presence in Canada as it shifts much of its heavy-duty truck production to more cost-competitive locations in the southwestern United States and Mexico.

The company, which has been producing vehicles in Chatham, Ontario, since 1923, is set to cut its staff there by about 90 percent, the Canadian Auto Workers union said on Monday.

“We’re amazed that this company continues to do this,” said Sonny Galea, who represents office workers and technicians for the CAW at the International Truck and Engine Corp plant.
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GreenField Ethanol’s facility in Chatham will get up to $72.8 million in federal funding

GreenField Ethanol's Chatham facility

GreenField Ethanol's Chatham facility

A major corn-based ethanol plant operating in Ontario since 1998 will get up to $72.8 million in federal funding from an incentive program for renewable fuel production.

Local MP Dave van Kesteren on Friday announced the funding from the federal government’s ecoEnergy for Biofuels program for GreenField Ethanol’s facility at Chatham, Ont.

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