The UAW-Chrysler National Training Center (NTC) in Kokomo is set to close under the labor contract approved last year following a federal corruption investigation into the United Auto Workers union.
The center, located at 1315 E. Hoffer St., will officially close at the end of October, but the building is already set to be sold this month, according to NTC officials in Detroit. NTC is a corporate nonprofit group based in Michigan.
The closure comes as part of the contract negotiated last year by the UAW and Fiat Chrysler, which dissolved all NTC operations in the country.
That came after FCA’s training centers were a focal point in a federal probe that led to 14 people being convicted in relation to corruption stemming from the training centers, including three former FCA executives, according to The Detroit News.
The probe also led to UAW President Gary Jones pleading guilty in June to helping steal more than $1 million from training center funds and member dues as part of a racketeering scheme.
Although the center will close in Kokomo, training for local FCA employees will continue as normal, said NTC officials.
After the centers dissolve, the same training will continue under two trust funds that aim to achieve greater transparency and accountability. The funds were created under the Labor Management Relations Act that regulates unions.
According to the UAW-FCA contract, “the structural change will assist the union and the company in their continuing efforts at conducting joint activities with sound oversight and governance.”
NTC officials said the Kokomo center wasn’t used much recently because most training had been consolidated in Detroit. Most of the training in Kokomo was done inside the plants using materials provided by the NTC.
Currently, only one employee appointed by the UAW International works at the Kokomo center, and that worker will still have a job, officials said.
However, the closure of the NTC facility in Warren, Michigan, will lead to over 90 layoffs, according to a notice filed with the state.
FCA’s World Class Manufacturing Academy in Tipton, which is a different entity than Kokomo’s NTC facility, continues to operate training programs.