BELVIDERE, Ill. (WIFR) - A global pandemic and a global shortage in micro-chips made it difficult for the auto industry, and the result is a move from two shifts to just one at the Stellantis auto assembly plant in Belvidere plant it could leave more than 1,600 people without work.

“They want to know what the cut-off number is if they have enough seniority to keep their job and at this time I can’t answer them.” Syncreon unit 5 Chair Robert Holt said.

Holt says suppliers will also feel the impact of the layoff, with the plant cut in half the need for parts will drop as well.

“It just came as a surprise when I was woken up this morning they told me that there was the possibility of them eliminating shifts.”

The Stellantis plant is one of the biggest economic drivers in the Rockford region, Illinois Senator Dave Syverson believes the fallout of the indefinite lay-off will reach every corner of the Stateline.

“It is significant it’s not only the loss of 1600 jobs it’s all the indirect jobs that go with that,” Syverson said. “You have the suppliers the trickle-down ends up meaning thousands of jobs that could be lost if this is permanent.”

Stellantis says the layoff is indefinite, holt hopes there will be a rise in demand to bring work back to Belvidere, but for him, the cut still hurts.

“The layoff kind of bothered me because people I’ve worked with for years come to work every day and do their job take pride in their work and now they’re basically being forced out because of chips computer chips,” Holt said.

Stellantis says it does intend on filling any open full-time positions with laid-off auto plant workers, the company says it will be based on seniority.

Here is a statement from Stellantis:

“As we continue to balance sales with production of the Jeep Cherokee produced at Belvidere (III) Assembly plant, which has been further exacerbated by the unprecedented global microchip shortage, Stellantis notified affected employees, the state of Illinois, the city of Belvidere and the UAW today that production operations at the plant will be reduced from two shifts to one as of July 26, 2021. This action could affect 1,641 represented employees. The Company will make every effort to place laid off hourly employees in open full-time positions as they become available based on seniority.”

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