The company let go about 60 production workers and 40 temporary workers on Tuesday. About 210 people are still working at the plant.
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Maryanne Roberts is a spokeswoman for Bombardier—she says the layoffs stem from a quality issue with a part from an outside supplier.
Bombadier first noticed the problem in November with a commuter rail car the company is making for the Chicago Transit Authority. The part is a wheel casting—they’re used to attach wheels and axles to a railcar body. The problem resurfaced in December, and Bombardier decided it needs to inspect all of the potentially-defective parts.
Unfortunately we had to temporarily shut down the production line for railcars we’re building for the CTA. We’re doing everything we can to start up production and recall everyone as soon as possible.
Roberts says the issue—and the layoffs—were “unforeseen” and “unfortunate”. But she says Bombardier is planning to have some of those workers back on the line soon—and hoping to have the others back in the next month or so:
On the positive side we’re about to ramp up another production line, for NJ transit—so we’ll be recalling some of those workers to work on the NJ cars this month and next. And hopefully in that same time period we’ll be resuming that line for Chicago.
The company expects to recall about 20 laid-off workers to make New Jersey railcars this month, and 20 more next month.