Aftermarket

Navistar Shutters Canadian Plant

July 07, 2009

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Navistar has shuttered its Chatham, Ontario, plant in the midst of negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers union, which represents the facility's employees.
Some 370 employees are out of work unless there is an agreement to downscale the plant's operations.

According to the CanWest News Service, Navistar will most likely keep the plant open if it can cut the workforce down to 138, reduce wages and benefits and do away with seniority rights. At its peak, the plant housed about 2,000 in 2003, when it received about $33 million from the federal government and $30 million in financial aid, tax breaks and research incentives to keep the facility open, TodaysTrucking.com reported.

The company expects to transfer some heavy-duty production to its Escobedo, Mexico, plant as well as other U.S. facilities, according to TodaysTrucking.com. Many of Navistar's parts suppliers are now located in the southern U.S., and the company feels it doesn't make sense to haul the parts up to Canada for assembly.

Chatham was churning out 35 Class 8 models per day, including International ProStars and LoneStars in sleeper and day cab models, according to Transport Topics. If kept open, Chatham would focus on day cabs, including DuraStar, WorkStar and TranStar. It would also most likely produce sleepers and day cabs for the ProStar and LoneStar.

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