Tipton FCA transmission

Four millionth completed nine-speed transmission built by FCA.

Local Stellantis employees building 8-speed transmissions who were put on furlough last month have returned to work earlier than expected, but around 1,600 employees making 9-speed transmissions remain temporarily laid off.

UAW Local 685 President Matt Jarvis said in a video posted Friday that the one shift building 8-speed transmissions at the Kokomo Transmission Plant returned to the facility Monday. The furloughs were initially expected to run through June 14.

However, the layoffs for 9-speed workers has tentatively been extended through July 12 after first being scheduled to return earlier this month.

Last month, around 1,000 9-speed employees were on furlough. Now, around 1,600 workers have been impacted by the shift in production, according to Jodi Tinson, the company’s director of manufacturing and labor communications.

The furloughs have been brought on by the pandemic-fueled chip shortage, which has forcefully disrupted the automotive industry. Most companies are scrambling to realign their production as they wait for more chips to arrive. Dealerships are also working with reduced inventory as fewer vehicles are being produced.

Around 1,800 local Stellantis workers were initially furloughed for the first two weeks of February, and the company has continued to readjust work schedules and issue furloughs since then.

Jarvis said in a previous interview the prospect of furloughs is something workers will have to adapt to as the chip shortage drags on.

“It’s something we’re dealing with,” he said. “I think this is going to be our new normal through the end of the year.”

Carson Gerber can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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Carson Gerber is a reporter for the Kokomo Tribune and can be reached at 765-854-6739, carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter @carsongerber1.

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