FCA cancels Illinois plant event with CEO, union exec

Jim Lynch
The Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles canceled on Friday an Aug. 24 media event at its Belvidere, Illinois, plant at which CEO Sergio Marchionne was to have appeared with government and United Auto Workers officials, including Norwood Jewell, vice president of the UAW’s Fiat Chrysler unit.

The event was intended to mark the beginning of production of the Jeep Cherokee, relocated from its previous home in Toledo, Ohio, following a $350 million retooling of the Belvidere plant northwest of Chicago. Production of the Cherokee began last month, and is expected to create 300 new jobs at the plant.

“Due to unforeseeable circumstances, the event at the Belvidere Assembly Plant has been canceled,” Fiat Chrysler spokesperson Shawn Morgan said in an emailed response to questions. “It is our intention to reschedule.”

A similar event scheduled for July 12 was canceled earlier.

Friday’s announcement of the cancellation came the same day that a fourth person – former labor executive Virdell King – was charged in a corruption scandal that prosecutors say involved funneling millions of dollars worth of payoffs to labor leaders and auto executives with funds intended for training workers at the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center in Detroit.

The criminal filing against King came one day after The Detroit News reported she used a training center credit card to buy a $2,180 shotgun as a birthday present for Jewell. The UAW said Jewell wasn’t aware training center funds had been used, and that he reimbursed the center when he learned the source of the funds.


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