Grand Vehicle Works, parent company to Workhorse Custom Chassis, announced Tuesday (Aug. 17) the closure of its Union City Body Co. plant on Oct. 9, eliminating 118 jobs in the small east-central Indiana town of Union City.
According to an article in the Muncie Star Press, Highland, Ill.-based Grand Vehicle Works had reached an agreement with union workers in Local UAW 494 last March, but had since decided to shut down operations at the 108-year-old manufacturing facility.
UCBC has been making delivery step vans for decades for customers like UPS and the U.S. Post Office.
“People will be able to transfer over to [sister plant] Workhorse Custom Chassis, according to their seniority,” said union member Rick Hunt, who has 32 years in at UCBC. “That’s bad for the younger workers. Some are laid off now, and some will never get to come back. It’s not good for the city, which is already struggling the way it is now.”
Workhorse, which employs around 350 workers, entered the RV chassis building market five years ago after purchasing production rights from General Motor Corp. for the former P-Series Chevrolet chassis. Workers at UCBC make about $18 an hour, compared to about $13 for workers at Workhorse Custom Chassis.
The Star Press reported that David Olsen, president of Workhorse, did not comment on the closing.
Production Concepts, a Union City supplier to the Workhorse plant – but not to UCBC – said the Workhorse plant had been doing well.
“Workhorse has done well since day one, and Grand Vehicle Works’ engineering and sales center will also remain,” said PCI President Rob Lykins Tuesday. “But my family and lots of other families have worked at the body company, and shutting it down will affect the whole town.”