Workers at Perrysburg Twp. plant celebrate.
Perrysburg Township and local union officials are excited about news from Chrysler Group LLC that it plans to invest $72 million in its Toledo Machining Plant in the township.
Chrysler said Tuesday that it will invest the money so the factory at 8000 Chrysler Dr., visible from the Ohio Turnpike, can produce new generation front-wheel and rear-wheel drive torque converters and steering columns. The investment, the automaker said, is subject to the completion of incentive negotiations and agreements with the state. The company said 640 hourly and salaried jobs will be retained at the plant.
John Hrosko, Perrysburg Township administrator, told The Blade the announcement was “great news.”
“We knew [Chrysler officials] were working very hard to get some money into this plant. The governor and his people also were working very hard and we knew they were going to try to get some funding,” he said.
“We sent a lot of letters in support of those efforts. Obviously some of those letters helped and they’re going to go ahead an invest in the plant.”
The township, he said, doesn’t receive payroll tax from the plant, so tax revenue is a non-factor.
“But it’s nice to have those jobs in the community pumping money back into the community through retail and other things,” he said. “It’s also a great image builder for Perrysburg Township. It’s a huge plant that has all those jobs, nearly 700. It makes us more secure.”
Township officials hope the new torque converters might lead to even more jobs at the plant, he said.
Robert Mack, a Perrysburg Township trustee said he was “ecstatic” about the announcement.
Chrysler “has been a great constituent and we’re just glad to have them in the township,” he said.
“Nothing lasts forever but if you take care of your people — and they take care of their employees and we take care of them government wise — it should be a long-lasting relationship.
Rich DeVore, president at United Auto Workers Local 1435, which represents employees at the plant, said, “Obviously we’re very excited over the whole thing.”
He said he was aware this may be coming, but added, “These things can unravel.”
With today’s official announcement, Mr. DeVore said UAW leaders and the entire plant, were finally able to celebrate Chrysler’s decision.
“It will be Miller time — and Miller is a UAW shop,” Mr. Deore said with a laugh. “Really, we’re going to celebrate and just enjoy this one. It’s good for everybody. It’s going to keep everybody working.”
The Local 1435 president said the new torque converters have great potential for further expansion.
“I think it shows the work force here in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan is second to none. Thank god for [President] Obama and the effort to push the loans through for the auto industry. Without that and without our [voluntary employees’ beneficiary association] fund or we wouldn’t be alive as a plant now,” Mr. DeVore said.
The announcement by Chrysler comes on the day Ohio Gov. John Kasich was to meet with company officials at Chrysler’s Auburn Hills, Mich., headquarters.
The new torque converters will be paired with the next generation eight-speed rear-wheel drive transmission and the all-new nine-speed front-wheel drive transmission to be produced at the company’s Kokomo, Ind. transmission plants.
“We welcome this investment in Toledo Machining as it is an acknowledgement of the high quality components that have been produced by our skilled workforce for many years,” Scott Garberding, Chrysler’s senior vice president and head of manufacturing, said in a statement. “Being able to bring new technology to this facility secures its long-term future.”
Work on the plant is expected to begin this fall and be completed in the first quarter of 2013.
“We’re very pleased that Chrysler is making the decision to invest in the Toledo Machining Plant and the skilled workforce there,” said General Holiefield, the United Auto Workers’ Chrysler vice president, in a statement.
Toledo Machining currently produces steering columns for the Toledo Assembly complex, where Jeep Wrangler and Liberty SUVs are made, and at these assembly plants: Warren, Mich. truck; Belvidere, Ill., Sterling Heights, Mich., Windsor, Ont., Toluca, Mex., Saltillo, Mex., and Carabobo, Venezuela.