More than 500 workers at Navistar's Wakarusa facility will be impacted by the recent sale of the company's RV division to Florida-based Allied Specialty Vehicles.
ASV says it plans to breathe new life into the RV brands; in order to do so, they'll move manufacturing operations from Wakarusa to Decatur, Ind. over the next several months.
"We've got an absolutely world class manufacturing facility here in Wakarusa, but it's just too big for the level of business that exists today or is likely to exist in the future," said COO Jim Meyer.
New orders for the Wakarusa plant won't be accepted, but Meyer says they'll complete orders that have already been placed. He expects production to end and the facility to close in August.
But, Meyer says that doesn't mean the more than 500 employees will all lose their jobs.
"Our expectation is we will be able to find another industry competitor to buy the facilities," Meyer said. "And, so our goal quite frankly is to do this in a way that minimizes the time we ramp down and when a new company comes in and ramps the facility back up."
Meyer says employees will also have the opportunity to apply for positions in Decatur and with other ASV brands.
But, Navistar employee Mike Raeder says he's been here before.
He worked for AM General for nine years before losing his job and living off unemployment. Now, less than a year after starting at Navistar, he's worried he could face the same dilemma again.
"These companies around here, any time you get into an RV situation like that, you never know," he said. "It's a matter of time."
Raeder says there had been rumors about a potential sale, but they weren't confirmed until Thursday. He says employees are being offered bonuses to stay on for the summer and help complete the final orders. If they don't find jobs after that, Raeder says workers will receive severance packages.
Employees will get more details about their future on Friday.
Raeder says he's hopeful he, and everyone else, can find other work.
"It's heart wrenching because I've lost a lot of things over the last few years that I've worked hard for," he said. "Just got to stick to it I guess. That's about all you can do."
ASV says employees at Navistar's Elkhart facility won't be impacted by the sale.