BELVIDERE (WREX) - Chrysler has announced 992 employees will be laid off at the Belvidere plant.
Employees were informed about the shift cut Tuesday. The employees will be placed on indefinite layoff starting July 27 and the plant will become a one-shift operation.
On Wednesday, 13 News talked with Illinois Senator Dick Durbin who said the news of the layoffs is disappointing, but pointed out that the Belvidere plant is fortunate to not be on the list of plants being closed by the struggling automaker. Durbin says the state will do what it can to help the laid off workers transition into new jobs.
"The latest decision by Chrysler was not easy. In choosing to bring the Belvidere plant back online, Chrysler had to reduce its workforce and cut local, good-paying jobs," said Durbin. "But, while other Chrysler plants around the country remain idle, Belvidere will finally be able to restart production. This is good news for Northern Illinois as it shows that this plant will be a part of Chrysler's future after bankruptcy."
The affected employees will be eligible for a special buyout program from Chrysler.
The Belvidere plant assembles Dodge Calibers, Jeep Patriots and Jeep Compasses. It's been idle since Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in April.
Chrysler LLC Statement on Belvidere Assembly Plant and Belvidere Satellite Stamping Plant
Auburn Hills, Mich. , May 19, 2009 - Chrysler LLC announces today that the Belvidere Assembly Plant and Belvidere Satellite Stamping Plant (Belvidere, Ill.) will move from a shift-smoothing schedule to a traditional one-shift operation. The shift-smoothing process enabled employees from the first and second shifts to share work as a one-shift operation while working a one-week work/one-week layoff practice.
While the facility moves to a traditional one-shift operation, volume production remains the same.
Approximately 992 employees will be placed on indefinite layoff which will take effect July 27, 2009. Chrysler will work closely with the United Auto Workers union to manage these changes in a socially responsible manner. All employees at these facilities are also eligible for a special buyout program which was extended to Tuesday, May 26, 2009. All separations and retirements may occur at the Company's discretion on or before May 27, 2009. Currently, the plant is temporarily idled.
The Company will continue to monitor economic indicators as it develops its future operating schedule.
Belvidere Assembly Plant was constructed in 1965 and began production of the Dodge Caliber in December 2005 followed by the Jeep Compass in May 2006 and Jeep Patriot in December 2006. The plants currently employ approximately 2,600 hourly workers.
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