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UAW Concessions Keep Navistar Foundry Open

Five-year contract ends plan to close Indianapolis Casting

Navistar International Corp.’s Indianapolis Casting Corp. has earned another reprieve thanks a new five-year contract agreement between the company and the United Auto Workers union. The contract covers 250 workers, about half as many as were employed there about 18 months ago when Navistar first announced its intent to close the ferrous foundry.

Indianapolis Casting casts gray and ductile iron engine blocks that are manufactured into diesel engines at Navistar’s nearby engine plant. The foundry has been in operation since the 1930s.

In January 2009 Navistar announced its intent to close the foundry by last July. That was the result of the end of ICC’s 30-year supply agreement with Ford Motor Co., which ended in a legal dispute as Ford reassigned its diesel engine block sourcing.

Navistar and Ford continued to work together on engine programs in other regional markets, but ending the North American supply of diesel engines to Ford eliminated the main customer for the Indianapolis operations.

The UAW agreed to the contract in order preserve the jobs, with a proposal that came after the local union had already agreed to the shutdown.

The new contract cuts workers’ wages, vacation time, and holidays, but preserves a number of positions for production workers and skilled tradesmen. "Our goal now is to go out and get new business, get new work,"  Ron Dubree, international service representative for the UAW's Region 3 told a local reporter

For the next four to six months, though, the foundry will be idle. Navistar will recall workers, as needed, according to seniority, as it works through an inventory of finished work built up over recent months.

Copyright © 2010 Penton Media, Inc.

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