Approximately 175 members of IAM Local W384 (District 5) at Motor Coach Industries’ (MCI) Pembina, N.D. plant were told they will be out of work by the end of the year due to the company’s decision to close the facility.
Now, members of the North Dakota congressional delegation are asking MCI to reconsider their decision to close the Pembina plant. U.S. Sens. Kevin Kramer (R-N.D.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.), along with U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) expressed serious concerns about how the closure of the facility, which has been in Pembina since 1963, will significantly affect the livelihoods of the nearly 200 employees currently working at the plant.
Read: North Dakota’s congressional delegation asks Motor Coach to reconsider decision to close Pembina bus plant Grand Forks(ND) Herald
“While we understand that domestic and global sales environments are key drivers in business decisions, we believe MCI’s Pembina Assembly Plant and its workers produce a top-quality product, and they should continue to have the opportunity to manufacture in North Dakota,” reads the letter from the North Dakota congressional delegation.
“We were just in shock thinking back to all the things we’ve been told, the broken promises — how we’d never close because we were paid for and have so much to offer this community — things like that,” IAM Lodge W384 President Jennifer Winkler told the Grand Forks (ND) Herald.
“Since the announcement of the plant closure in Pembina, the future of the employees and the surrounding communities who will be affected by this devastating decision has been in question,” said IAM District 5 Directing Business Representative Jeremy Pearson. “The fact that the North Dakota congressional delegation has reached out to MCI to try and change their minds means the world to those whose lives will be so dramatically changed as a result of the decision to close the facility. We hope that this letter of support will show MCI how valuable this facility is to, not only the employees and the surrounding communities, but also to the state of North Dakota. The loss of 175 family-supporting jobs in Pembina, with a population of just over 500, will have a major impact on the area economy and the surrounding communities.”
“We do not agree with the company’s assertion that they were unable to find skilled workers in Pembina,” wrote IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. in a letter to North Dakota’s Senators and U.S. House Representative. “The IAM has also made efforts to meet that demand by offering to partner with the company to recruit and launch apprenticeship programs to meet the workforce needs.”
“We applaud the members of the North Dakota congressional delegation for standing up for our members at the MCI plant in Pembina,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “Their support carries a of weight in the state and it is our hope that MCI reverses its decision which in its current state will devastate the lives of 175 IAM members, their families, and the surrounding communities. Our union will continue to fight to protect these highly-skilled jobs and to avoid this facility shutting down.”
The North Dakota congressional delegation has expressed their desire to work with MCI, IAM members in Pembina, and state and local officials, to preserve these jobs and ensure the continued success of the MCI manufacturing facility.