As the United Auto Workers enters into negotiations with the ‘Detroit Three” for a new contract, Japanese auto maker Mitsubishi dealt a blow to the UAW on Friday by announcing it will be closing its Normal, Illinois plant by November and leaving the U.S. entirely.
The plant’s closure means that approzimately 1,900 employees will soon be out of jobs.
Many of those employees are represented by the United Auto Workers and the union’s contract expires next month.
For employees, the news comes as a shock to employees and the UAW.
News that the Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal will close in November caught Rod DeVary, president of United Auto Workers 2488, by surprise.
“I just got back from a training session and heard about it today,” he said, referring to the employee meeting held at the plant Friday morning when the Japanese-owned carmaker confirmed to the factory’s 1,250 workers that production was coming to an end.
“It’s such a shock to us right now. The car we produced here (the Outlander Sport SUV) was the company’s biggest seller — even in Japan,” said DeVary, who’s worked at the plant for 27 years.
The automaker released the following statement to its employees Friday:
“Following a review of Mitsubishi Motor Corporation’s global supply chain, we have been informed it is necessary to end production and seek a strategic buyer for the Normal plant. MMC’s Board will make a formal decision in the near future and our focus right now is to identify a buyer who would continue to operate and maintain employment – the best potential outcome for our employees and the community. Today, we shared this news with our employees and our intent to work in partnership with the UAW and civic leaders over the coming months to achieve a successful result.”