Jeep supplier Mobis announces layoffs

572 employees to be affected, per WARN letter

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    The Jeep Wrangler chassis line at the MOBIS plant in Toledo in 2012.

    The Blade/Lori King
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  • Hundreds of layoffs were announced for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Toledo assembly complex as preparations are being made for production of the Wrangler-based pickup truck.

    Mobis North America, an on-site supplier for the Toledo assembly complex, announced more than 500 layoffs and a temporary cease in operations that starts this April. The company notified the state of the cutbacks in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter filed Friday.

    Production assemblers represent 369 of the 572 expected layoffs, but technicians, management, and accountants are also affected. The Mobis production stoppage begins April 7 and runs until April 1, 2019.

    Bruce Baumhower, president of United Auto Workers Local 12, said he also expects representatives of KUKA Toledo Production Operations to announce another 350 layoffs sometime soon.

    Workers have known about the upcoming layoffs since negotiations with Fiat Chrysler in 2015. During that time, Mr. Baumhower said company officials were struggling to build enough Jeep Wranglers. Both sides later agreed to shift production of Wranglers to the larger Toledo North Assembly Plant and remodel the Toledo Supplier Park — or Toledo South plant, as it’s called — to build the new pickup truck.

    Mr. Baumhower described the process as moving a little backward to move forward, adding Fiat Chrysler is investing roughly $1 billion on the project.

    “It's good news because all this is going to result in us building more vehicles,” he said, “and because this means long-term job security for members of our community in a larger facility that can deliver more Wranglers.

    “At the end of the day, we'll have 700 more jobs in the complex than we had when all this started.”

    Although the cease in operations letter calls for stopping production for up to a year, Dinny Sullivan, senior human resources manager for Mobis, said employees are likely to start back to work much sooner, adding some employees could be brought back as early as three or four months.

    Mr. Baumhower added workers will likely be brought back as different phases of plant remodeling are completed.