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10/31/2018 11:17:00 AM
Temporary shutdown extended for Kokomo, Tipton Fiat Chrysler plants

George Myers, Kokomo Tribune

Employees at two local Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plants are waiting longer than expected to return to work.

A Fiat Chrysler official confirmed Indiana Transmission Plant I and Tipton Transmission Plant are being idled, or shut down, for two additional weeks. The extended, temporary shutdown started Monday.

That comes after the two plants were shut down during the weeks of Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 “in order to adjust inventory,” according to a statement from the company. 

A Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman told the Tribune employees at the two plants could potentially qualify for unemployment and supplemental pay.

“ITPI and Tipton employees laid off for the next two weeks could receive a combination of Indiana State Unemployment Insurance and FCA US-paid Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (SUB), as outlined in the collective bargaining agreement,” said the statement.

“These payments, as well as the continuation of medical/dental/vision coverage, will be based on eligibility.”

When employees return to work, they will do so on eight-hour shifts, five days per week. Generally, FCA manufacturing facilities run six days per week on two 10-hour shifts, according to the company, which has said the ITPI and TTP shift changes are being done to also "adjust inventory.”

The change is not expected to create a loss of jobs.

The spokeswoman stated “all other facilities will continue their current operating patterns.”

Information on Fiat Chrysler’s website, last updated in August, stated ITPI boasts 2,230 employees - 1,950 hourly and 280 salaries – combined with ITPII. 

The plant produces 65/66/68 RFE RWD transmissions for Ram Trucks, Cummins Diesel and Heavy Duty and 948TE transmissions in all-wheel, four-wheel and two-wheel drive configurations for the Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Renegade, Chrysler Pacifica and Ram ProMaster City.

In comparison, TTP has 944 workers – 840 hourly and 104 salaried.

The plant, which began nine-speed transmission production in April 2014, currently produces nine-speed transmissions in all-wheel, four-wheel, two-wheel and hybrid drive configurations for the Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Renegade, Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Ram ProMaster City.

Both plants are represented by United Auto Workers Local 685.

UAW 685 President Rick Ward did not return a request for comment for this story.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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