In March, Stellantis idled its plant in Belvidere, Illinois, as part of a transition from internal combustion to EVs. At the time, CEO Brad Tavares said Stellantis needed to "adapt to this new world," and some 1,350 workers were laid off indefinitely.
Well, about seven days before Christmas, some 165 Stellantis employees came back to work. This week, the workers returned to full-time positions, supporting operations for the company's parts and service division, Mopar.
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Some 115 employees are already processing parts for dealer distribution at a Belvidere warehouse. The remainder are being trained at Stellantis' Chicago Parts Distribution Center in Naperville, Illinois, but they will be back on the job next week.
The move is part of the automaker's new deal with the UAW following a six-week standoff that saw more than 14,000 workers walk off the job. During negotiations, Stellantis made big commitments in Belvidere, including a new battery plant joint venture, a Mopar Mega Hub and resuming production at the idled plant. The deal represents a nearly $5 billion investment, just in Belvidere, by Stellantis.
The carmaker also agreed to eliminate the wage tier between Mopar employees and their assembly plant counterparts, making it easier to transition from a position in a manufacturing facility to one in a parts distribution center.
In a statement, Mark Stewart, Stellantis North America COO, said the company always aimed to find full-time employment opportunities for the Belvidere workforce. He said, "This is a great first step in our plans to restore operations in this community and provide meaningful, high-paying jobs with excellent benefits for those who are still on layoff and, eventually, for many who want to return home."