Plus, he said the charging infrastructure isn’t up to par. Logan believes there is a need for a “universal charger” that can be used no matter what vehicle a person is driving. He raised the need for legislation about this a few weeks ago with U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and fellow Democrat, Illinois State Sen. Steve Stadelman of Rockford. Logan also worries about the ability of power grids to support an influx of EVs.
But the benefits, he said, will be a cleaner environment and maybe some good-paying jobs for Belvidere.
UAW Region 4 Director Brandon Campbell said the plant once produced three models on two different platforms — proven flexibility that might be needed to sustain a competitive operation. He believes an EV could generate the sales volume needed to keep the line humming.
“Depending on how the company treats the vehicle, how they promote the vehicle of the future, that will determine whether a plant will be viable or not,” Campbell said. “But I’m confident in the work force at Belvidere to be able to build vehicles of a significant amount of quality, their throughput will be second to none, as that plant has always [done]. The attendance will again be second to none in the corporation, so if there’s profit to be made off that vehicle, they can do it in Belvidere.”
Campbell was hired at Belvidere in 1994. His father worked there, too.
If he could sit down with Tavares, Campbell said, he would tell him that this situation is creating “unfathomable amounts of stress and uncertainty for our members there. They deserve better.”
Campbell told union members last month in a Facebook message that UAW President Ray Curry has been in contact with President Joe Biden and his staff “to both pressure Stellantis to direct new product to Belvidere and to steer federal incentives toward the efforts to keep that plant open.”
Belvidere Mayor Clint Morris believes a jolt of federal money may be needed to close the deal.
Morris empathizes with the workers and has been in their shoes. He said he was laid off from his job in the machine tool industry in the early 1980s while supporting his young family, but he was able to rebound and go on to have a successful career.
“Our employees here are individuals that work hard, that are chasing the same dream that I had chased when I was young, and the [dream] that I had been able to obtain because I had a good job,” Morris said. “I was able to raise my family and had a good quality of life, and they’re no different. That’s all they’re asking for is an opportunity, and it’s a shame.”