Fiat Chrysler has announced that it is laying off 1,300 workers at its Sterling Heights, Michigan plant.
According to Detroit Local 4, the layoffs will begin in July because of a 61 percent drop in sales of the Chrysler 200, a mid-sized car which is manufactured at the facility.
The company reported that it only sold 7,500 units thus far this year, which amounts to half of what it sold during the same period last year. Many workers have been on temporary layoff since February 1 as sales numbers straggled in. But now they are being told the layoffs will be permanent starting in July.
“In order to better align production with demand at its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, FCA US notified the State of Michigan, the City of Sterling Heights and the UAW today that it intends to return the plant to a one-shift operation, beginning July 5,” the company said in a publicly released statement.
“The Company will place indefinitely laid off employees in open full-time positions as they become available within the Detroit labor market based on seniority.”
UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell said that while regrettable the announcement was not a big surprise. The union rep said:
While today’s announcement of a shift reduction at Sterling Heights Assembly is unfortunate, it is not unexpected. FCA is not the only company experiencing a slow market for small cars. On a bright note, there is a strong demand for larger-sized vehicles. The company has been planning to increase its capacity to build more trucks and SUVs. I believe that in the long term this move will be a positive one for our members and the company.
The announcement comes on the heels of decisions from both GM and Ford to close plants in Michigan and move manufacturing and jobs to Mexico.
Earlier this week Ford Motor Co. announced it was planning to spend $1.6 billion on new facilities in Mexico.
Ford’s announcement came only a few months after GM announced similar plans, in its case a plan to spend a whopping $5 billion on building new facilities in Mexico.
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