Belvidere businesses feel impact of shift changes, pending layoffs at assembly plant

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 10:33 PM CDT
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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - More bad news in Belvidere, the Stellantis worker’s return to the plant has been pushed back another week until June 1. The second shift will not be coming back with the first shift to start next month.

Not only does this news affect 1,600 workers who have moved from the assembly line to the unemployment line, it has a ripple effect throughout the entire city of Murals. The plant opened back in 1965 and has since provided the economy with jobs and income for the City of Belvidere and its employees. The adjustments at the plant and around local businesses are just beginning.

Darrell Reidinger is the managing partner of Coach’s Corner in Belvidere, he’s noticed a decreased crowd due to COVID-19 and is missing the workers from the plant who were regulars. “Whether it as first shift, second shift people coming in prior with a lot of to-go work with the plant, the year and a half, we were open prior to COVID, or any plant cut plants, they are a huge part of our business.”

While Coach’s Corner may be newer to the region, there are staples like Uncle John’s that have felt the impact of these layoffs before. Manager Dino Ibraime says, “What I like about the plant is they do support the local businesses. That being said, yes we have been affected especially during our lunch hour, usually, the guys come in at lunch we don’t see any more. I always had a group of guys come after the third shift for breakfast, that has stopped.”

Restaurant owners say it’s not just Stellantis workers impacting their business but others find themselves in tough times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s across many industries, not just the hospitality industry Reidinger says, “One of the first things to go when people make choices on what they’ll do with their income is dining out or coming out and having the experience.”

Production at the plant is set up to start next month, providing a glimmer of hope for local businesses. Ibraime says, “Belvidere plant has been known for this community, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.” “Belvidere has a long history of lore and legacy of being that tight community. Concerns are large and genuine. I know that as a whole, we will persevere,” Reidinger says.

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