Some auto plant workers without pay as Stellantis shutdown hits 30 day mark

Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 9:12 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A plant that pumps vehicles out the door closes shop for a month, taking its workers from the assembly line to the unemployment line.

Back in late march Stellantis laid off its employees at the Belvidere auto assembly plant, the intent was to bring the workforce back in mid-April, but another extension of the layoff has left some with a paycheck problem.

“I have missed a couple of payments I’m actually waiting for a payment now,” Robert Holt said.

Holt is the Unit 5 Chairperson at Syncreon, a supplier for the Belvidere plant. When work stops at Stellantis, work stops for Holt.

“Someone from the state of Illinois needs to step up and get this ball rolling and get these issues fixed it’s just not acceptable it’s poor workmanship,” Holt said.

Holt like many others at the plant filed for unemployment. On the claim, employees have to submit a return to work date. When Stellantis extended the layoff it created a problem.

“One of the issues that comes up though is that there is no way to get paid once you put a return work date and past that date until you contact unemployment and let them know that your return to work date has been moved,” Financial Secretary at United Auto Workers Local 1268 Michael Moe said.

As Financial Secretary Moe oversees all unemployment issues for union workers. He says when lay-off extensions happen he contacts the unemployment office to extend the return to work date. This time something went wrong.

“I have a contact in the unemployment office in Rockford and they usually run a program that program automatically moves the return to work date for Chrysler and all the suppliers but there was an error with the program,” Moe said.

Moe says the problem that cost workers hundreds of dollars should be solved, but for Holt, the lapse in payment could still make a difference.

“I have a little nest egg set up but that savings is for when COVID is over I’d like to take my family on a trip and I’m not able to do that right now,” Holt said.

Workers are scheduled to return to the Stellantis plant on May 10.

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