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More layoffs coming to Belvidere Assembly Plant. Here's what we know.

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STELLANTIS Belvidere Assembly Plant 11

FCA US employees use skillets to “marry” the chassis to the body of a Jeep Cherokee at the Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant. A skillet looks like the bellows of an accordion on its side and carries the vehicle down the line, adjusting in height from 13 inches to up to 52 inches. Belvidere Assembly began production of the Jeep Cherokee on June 1, 2017, after it moved from the Toledo (Ohio) Assembly Complex as part of the Company’s plan to increase manufacturing capacity of trucks and SUVs.  (2017)

BELVIDERE (WREX) — Stellantis is reducing the staff at the Belvidere Assembly Plant. 

A spokesperson for Stellantis confirmed with 13 WREX the plant is "making additional staffing reductions to operate the plant in a more sustainable manner."

The spokesperson says the reductions will be me done through a combination of offering retirement packages to employees who are eligible as well as laying off both hourly and salaried employees. 13 News asked for an exact number of people who will be getting laid off, but the company declined since they are not confirming the number of retirement packages being offered to eligible employees. 

While we don't know how many people will be retiring or losing their jobs, the company did say the layoffs could begin as soon as May 27, 2022 with retirements taking effect on May 31st. 

It's the 5th time in the past 13 months the plant will be laying off employees. 

Timeline of Events

The struggles for the plant started in January 2021 when a global microchip shortage impacted carmakers across the globe. 

The shortage caused the first temporary closure of the plant in February. Later in February, the company announced it was laying off 150 employees to "meet global demand for the Jeep Cherokee." 

In the spring, the plant was shut down multiple times because of the microchip shortage, including more than two months straight from Mar. 29 through June 1. 

During the shut down in May, a spokesperson from the company told 13 WREX the company was reducing the number of shifts at the plant from two to one, a move which could've laid off 1,641 employees from the plant.

The summer saw the more temporary closures due to the microchip shortage. 

In the fall, 13 WREX learned and later confirmed with Stellantis that about 1,100 laid off employees were offered a letter from the company with three options: relocate, quit, or be fired. 

Employees were being given an option to relocate to Stellantis' Toledo Assembly Complex and several Mopar locations. If an employee declined the placement, they were placed with no company-provided income or benefits, but maintained their eligibility for other job opportunities. If an employee failed to respond to the letter, they were terminated. 

In November, the company sent a WARN notice to employees, anticipating an additional 400 lay offs. The company said the notices were sent as the company continued to balance its global sales with the production of the Jeep Cherokee produced in Belvidere, which sales were further exacerbated by the microchip shortage. 

In December, the Chicago Tribune reported the plant is being eyes to become an electric vehicle manufacturing facility as soon as 2024. 

Last month, Stellantis announced it had reached "record sales" for 2021 as a whole, despite the struggles at the Belvidere Assembly Plant. 

So far this year, the plant has been shut down five times; three weeks due to the chip shortage and two to align production with sales. 

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