Leaders react to Belvidere Stellantis plant indefinitely going idle

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:21 PM CST
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BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - After a nearly a six-decade run, there’s now possibly years of uncertainty for 1200 workers at the Belvidere Stellantis plant, and 400 more from employees at local suppliers.

“It’s certainly devastating to community,“ said 35th District State Senator Dave Syverson

“It’s catastrophic to this community,” said UAW Local 1268 President Kevin Logan. “Not just Belvidere, but Rockford and Machesney Park and Roscoe. It’s going to hit the Northern Illinois area pretty hard”

“Some of my family work at that plant,” said Belvidere Mayor Clint Morris. “Many friends, many neighbors. So I understand what they’re feeling”

At 5,400,000 square feet, Belvidere has one of the five largest auto assembly plants in the World.

“It is a state of the art plant,” said Morris.

But this state of the art plant is now idle with no promise of a return.

“I can’t tell you how disappointed I am but at the same token I don’t think this is the final chapter,” said Morris who tries to provide some optimism on a day that matches the weather in Belvidere; dark and dreary.

“I haven’t received any notice that they are closing that plant they’re selling that plant any of that stuff. So patient is a virtue,” said Morris.

Logan is also confident this isn’t the end of the line for the Belvidere assembly line.

“It’s not an ancient building, they’ve made modifications to it,” said Logan “It has a stamping plant attached to the side of the building. Not many in the country can say that, where you can build a vehicle from beginning to end at the same location. "

But to Logan the biggest challenge is the uncertainty.

“We do not know what Stellantis’ plan for the future is. It would be a lot easier to make a decision if they know what the state of the plant was”

Until then local leaders will work with state and federal lawmakers to add to a 58-year legacy of making cars in the City of Murals.

“We’ve been here since 1965. We know how to manufacture automobiles,” said Morris.

“The workers here at this Stellantis plant have always had highest productivity,” said Syverson. “We’re going to keep working and continuing to make the case that workforce makes a different and we have that here.”

We’ve been told leaders from the international UAW organization will be on hand for Wednesday’s exit meeting. We did seek an interview from Stellantis officials but they declined at this time.