BELVIDERE, Ill (WIFR) -- New jobs, signing bonuses and no assembly plant closures could be the future of Fiat Chrysler by the end of next week. A tentative new four-year deal between the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would impact the Belvidere plant.
"Good news for us is good news for Rockford and Freeport and everybody else," says Belvidere Mayor Mike Chamberlain. "This is a regional effect. So the 4,400 people that still work out there, this influences the whole region because it's the largest single employer in the region."
The Belvidere facility draws its employees from a 70 miles radius. Speculation regarding the future of the plant started several months ago when the company cut its third shift and dismissed 1,300 workers. Now, employment could increase nationwide and in the stateline area.
FCA spokespeople released a statement confirming the Company and UAW reached a tentative agreement on the four-year contract. Chamberlain says he wants to wait for the final vote, but sees this as a positive step.
"What we've heard starting last Friday entails a $9,000 bonus for all those employees prior to the signing, it envisions no plant closures, and envisions 8,000 new jobs and plant expansions," he tells 23 News. "We hope that it comes to fruition as it's predicted to at this point in time, and I think it shows that the automotive industry is alive and well in America."
The Union council will meet Wednesday to decide if members should start voting Friday on the contract.