International Truck and Engine Corp. announced today that it would keep its Chatham, Ontario heavy-duty truck plant open, thanks to a long-term investment by the company, the Canadian government and the Province of Ontario.
The Canadian government will contribute up to $23 (CDN$33) million under its Technology Partnerships Canada program and various training programs, and Ontario will contribute up to $22 (CDN$32) million as part of its Large Scale Strategic Investment Initiative.
The plant employs about 750 active Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) members and produces an average of 35 trucks a day. At its peak in 1999, the plant produced an average of 120 trucks a day.
Daniel C. Ustian, president & CEO of International parent Navistar International Corp., said that the decision to keep the plant operating would result in an adjustment to the company’s existing restructuring charge recorded in the fourth quarter of 2002. Today's announcement capped 15 months of commotion at the Chatham plant.
The plant was the target of a six-week strike in July 2002 by members of the CAW. Union workers returned to work after the company agreed not to cease production at the plant for at least one year.
However, in October 2002, International announced in would close the plant and shift production of its 9000i Series Class 8 trucks its Escobedo, Mexico assembly plant. This past March, it announced a July 18 shutdown date.
But in May, International and CAW reached an agreement remain open past its July 18 shutdown date, as both sides agreed on how to cut $31 million in costs from plant operations, which International said was needed to make the facility competitive.