WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today released the following statements on President Biden’s and United Auto Workers (UAW) President Shawn Fain’s visit to Belvidere, Illinois, after UAW and Stellantis reached a deal to restart the Belvidere Assembly Plant and add on an electric vehicle battery plant to the facility:
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“While I cannot welcome them in person, I am pleased to have President Biden and UAW President Shawn Fain visit Belvidere today ahead of the plant’s reopening. Shawn was an unwavering advocate for Belvidere, keeping his word that the future of this plant must be included in any deal struck with Stellantis. The restarting of Belvidere Assembly Plant is a win for our state, our economy, and the workers who will come back to the plant with a higher hourly wage,” said Durbin. “The future of the electric vehicle industry starts here in Illinois. I will continue to fight for the federal resources needed to properly invest in the electric vehicle industry, as well as for the working class.”
“The tentative agreement between Stellantis and UAW and the proposed investment in Belvidere that would create more than 1,000 jobs included in that agreement are good for working families, good for manufacturing and good for Illinois—so I’m pleased to see President Biden and UAW President Shawn Fain visiting Belvidere today to reinforce those facts,” Duckworth said. “The future of manufacturing doesn’t mean fewer workers, the future of manufacturing depends on the power of our workforce. Illinois is ready to lead our nation and the world into the future, and I’m committed to doing everything I can from the federal level to help ensure Illinois has the resources and support needed for these advancements.”
As part of the deal with UAW, Stellantis will invest nearly $4.8 billion in the area, retooling the auto plant to produce a midsize truck, establish a parts distribution center, and construct a new electric vehicle battery plant. The plant is expected to create 1,300 jobs and launch in 2028. Employees at the plant will also see a 25 percent increase in base wages.
In February, Stellantis laid off 1,350 workers at the idled Belvidere Plant. Durbin has continuously shown his support for the laid off or striking autoworkers, joining picket lines at General Motors in Bolingbrook, Illinois, and at the Ford Assembly Plant in Chicago. In September, Durbin took to the Senate floor to urge Stellantis to reconsider the closure of the Belvidere plant, while reminding executives from the Big Three Automakers – General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis – that autoworkers deserve better wages as the companies collectively reaped more than $250 billion in profits between 2013 and 2022.
In July, Durbin and Duckworth led a letter alongside Senator Brown to General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis calling for a good-faith negotiation with striking autoworkers. In the letter, Durbin and Duckworth reiterated that Stellantis should never have closed the Belvidere Assembly Plant and urged Stellantis executives to swiftly reopen the plant.
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