has reached a labor agreement with two Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) locals for Navistar’s Chatham, Ontario plant. The contract extends many of the terms honored currently through June 30, 2009 and paves the way for the production of Navistar’s upcoming Class 8 linehaul tractorat the facility.
According to Navistar, the agreements “maintain and improve manufacturing flexibility and provide for a purchased modular assembly strategy for the new linehaul truck scheduled to be introduced at Chatham and go into production in January 2007.”
“The new extended agreements represent the collaborative culture we are creating with our partners and create a cost competitive and high-quality environment in which to produce our new linehaul truck,” stated Dee Kapur, president of International’s truck group. “The agreements ensure that Chatham will continue to be a significant source for our premium conventional heavy trucks as we continue with our program to grow the business and improve operating results.”
CAW Local 127 represents 650 production and maintenance workers at the plant. CAW Local 35 represents approximately 70 office workers.
With Chatham secured as the company’s primary facility for building the new truck, CAW said the agreement is a victory for the job security of plant workers. Chatham workers are now ensured a sizable chunk of the $300-million planned investment in Navistar’s Class 8 lineup, as well as an improvement in health care benefits, said CAW.
According to Bob Chernecki, CAW assistant to the president, some assembly work will be outsourced, however. The manufacturing structure of the Class 8 is now described as “prototype” and details on the role Chatham will play is not entirely certain.
“We’re not worried about it— the bottom line is that we have the truck,” Chernecki said.