Illinois falling backward: 2,200 workers saw mass layoffs in September

Illinois falling backward: 2,200 workers saw mass layoffs in September

Manufacturing workers continue to receive pink slips in Illinois.

More than a dozen major Illinois employers, including seven manufacturing businesses, filed notices of mass layoffs with the state in September. The layoffs affected 2,251 Illinois workers, according to the state’s monthly Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, report.

Mitsubishi Motors, which announced in July that it would stop production at its plant in Normal, Illinois, cost the state more than 1,200 jobs. And Mitsubishi is far from the only manufacturer struggling in Illinois.

The September report noted six other manufacturers that handed pink slips to nearly 600 workers: from a plant making cough drops on Chicago’s South Side to a railroad-car manufacturer in Rochelle, Illinois.

The latter, Nippon Sharyo Manufacturing, has received more than $10 million in state subsidies and tax credits since 2010, according to the Chicago Tribune. Nippon Sharyo announced temporary layoffs for 98 Illinois workers on Sept. 8.

The Nippon Sharyo case is yet another example of why state lawmakers must create a more competitive environment for all Illinois manufacturing businesses, rather than doling out special favors to a select few.

Take the case of Bedford Park forklift manufacturer Hoist Liftruck. CEO Marty Flaska will save $1 million annually in workers’ compensation costs alone when he moves his business to East Chicago, Indiana, by the end of this year.

“Forget about incentive money,” Flaska said. “When you look at the pure cost for me to do business in Illinois, the choice is clear.”

As long as Illinois lawmakers continue to stonewall the reforms necessary to kickstart Illinois’ manufacturing sector, employers such as Flaska will continue to flee to greener pastures. And pink slips for blue-collar workers statewide will continue to flow unchecked.


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