Manufacturing | WGLT

Manufacturing

State To Fund 2 Manufacturing Training Academies

Oct 27, 2020
Pritzker at a podium
BlueRoomStream.com

The state of Illinois plans to invest $15 million to construct two new manufacturing training academies at downstate community colleges.

Rivian truck in yellow
Rivian / Twitter

The electric automaker Rivian has pulled in another $2.5 billion—its largest single investment round to date—as it prepares to begin production in Normal.

Flexitech plant exterior
Google Maps

Flexitech Inc. plans to close its Bloomington assembly plant, putting 139 people out of work.

Bridgestone plant in Normal
Staff / WGLT

The Bridgestone Off-Road Tire plant in Normal is nearly finished with a $12 million renovation.

Matt Tall
Rivian

While Uptown Normal was filled with Rivian buzz during Sunday’s community event, the real action is taking place 5 miles west at the automaker’s manufacturing plant.

Worker welding
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

A new report makes the case that manufacturing is still a vital cog in Illinois’ economic engine—especially downstate.

Brandt Industries
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

Brandt Industries is adding more jobs at its new agriculture manufacturing plant north of Normal, but a manager there said hiring has been slowed by the challenge of finding qualified workers.

Two men sit at a table and address the Unit Five School Board. They are Economic Development Council Director Kyle Ham and Rivian Automotive CEO RJ Scaringe
Staff / WGLT

The head of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council said he hopes to rebuild strained relationships with some elected officials in the Twin Cities.

Caterpillar Hires Big Name Legal Help

Mar 17, 2017
IPR

Caterpillar Inc. is hiring a former U.S. attorney general to help it sort out matters that sparked a federal raid on its headquarters in central Illinois.

William P. Barr will serve as outside counsel to the large equipment manufacturer.

He'll help Caterpillar review and address issues relating to Caterpillar SARL, a Swiss parts subsidiary, and tax-saving practices.    

Issues with Caterpillar SARL have dogged the company for eight years, sparking a Senate investigation, shareholder lawsuits, and proposed taxes and penalties totaling $2 billion.

RogerW / Flickr

The New York Times is raising the question of Tax and Accounting Fraud by Peoria-based Caterpillar, Incorporated, not just negligence in taxes owed. Citing a confidential report to federal investigators, the Times alleges Caterpillar did not comply with either U.S. tax law or U.S. financial reporting rules.

Leslie Robinson of the Accounting Department at Dartmouth is the author of the report. The story quoted Robinson saying she believed the company's non compliance was deliberate and primarily with the intention of maintaining a higher share price.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Mitsubishi Motors North America has sold its plant in Normal to an industrial reclamation firm.

Maynards Industries is a Detroit-based company that will take possession of the plant in June.

Mitsubishi says it does not know Maynards' plans for the site and equipment, but are aware they are in discussions with various parties.

Careerlink

Many laid off Mitsubishi workers are still searching for new directions after the plant ended production last year.

Details of the Mitsubishi severance package are in the new contract approved recently by the United Auto Workers. The agreement comes as Mitsubishi prepares to end production next month and shut down the plant by June.

By a roughly 7 to 1 margin, United Auto Worker members have ratified a new contract agreement with Mitsubishi Motors North America. The final vote talley was 697 "Yes" to 103 "No."

UAW local 2488 officials had hoped to have a contract agreement with Mitsubishi ready for rank and file members to approve Sunday. However, no deal has been reached and the current contract, already extended on a short-term basis was extended again. The latest extension will expire at 11:59 p.m. tonight.

After scrapping a planned strike authorization vote, leaders of the union covering workers at the Mitsubishi plant in Normal have set an informational meeting on Sunday for members. The meeting will run from two to four p.m. on Sunday at Parkside Junior High in Normal.

The company earlier this year announced plans to end production of the Outlander Sport and close the plant next May if it cannot find a buyer.

Nearly two thirds of United Auto Workers at Fiat Chrysler voted to reject a proposed contract agreement with the company. The union says 65 percent of the membership voted against the pact.

The vote was a slap to President Dennis Williams who pitched the deal as a fair way to compensate workers yet keep the company competitive. Williams says in a statement that he doesn't consider the vote a setback because it's part of the contract process.

IL AG Seeks Details From Volkswagen

Oct 1, 2015
Flickr user David Villarreal Fernandez via Creative Commons

Attorney General Lisa Madigan says her office has asked for detailed information from Volkswagen in an investigation conducted by dozens of state attorneys general.

Mitsubishi Workers have scheduled a strike authorization vote tomorrow. This is in spite of plans to end production in the plant in late November and to close the facility next May. The UAW Local 2488 Facebook page posted the vote announcement this morning. The company and union have extended the existing contract twice, once for more than a month and more recently for a couple days. The pact sunsets tomorrow night. A strike authorization does not guarantee a walkout.

More East Peoria Caterpillar Layoffs

Sep 30, 2015

Caterpillar is placing 230 East Peoria workers on indefinite layoffs starting in mid-October.  The announcement brings the total layoff number at the East Peoria facility to 500 people since January.  The news comes a week after Cat announced it’s cutting as many as 10,000 jobs in the coming years as it pushes to reduce costs and address downturns in key markets.  Company spokeswoman Lisa Miller says the latest layoffs are in response to current market conditions to bring production in line with demand.

Mitsubishi Motors North America

Mitsubishi Motors and the UAW Local at the plant in Normal have extended their collective bargaining agreement another couple days. The contract had been set to expire at Midnight on the 29th, but will now run through October 1st. The two sides are negotiating even as Mitsubishi prepares to end production at the plant in November. It is the second extension. The original contract expired at the end of August. The company is seeking a buyer for the facility in hopes of salvaging about 1,200 jobs there.

The head of the effort to rescue use of the Mitsubishi Plant says there have been some nibbles on a buyer. Kyle Ham heads both the Economic Development Council for Bloomington Normal and the Mitsubishi Task Force.

"I am personally aware of automakers that are looking at the facility and have begun to do the due diligence process."

Ham says the plant has not been on the market that long and possible buyers have a lot of work to do.