End Of Line For Laid Off Navistar Engineers

By Jeff Neumeyer

December 2, 2011 Updated Dec 2, 2011 at 6:45 PM EDT

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A day of memories, a day of painful emotions for more than 130 Navistar engineers who on Friday spent their last day on the job.

Those engineers knew it was coming, but it didn’t necessarily make it any easier.

Yet the advanced warning did give them the chance to plan a gathering to mark the end of an era.

Inside the Rack and Helen's Bar and Grill in New Haven, part of the second floor was reserved for a different kind of “Black Friday” event.

International Harvester and Navistar have a long successful history of designing and building good products and employing thousands of people in the Fort Wayne area.

Recently, Navistar announced it was moving its Fort Wayne operations to a Chicago suburb.

Some workers moved with the company, but others chose to find other jobs or ride things out in Fort Wayne until their jobs get phased out.

December 2nd was the end of the line for about 133 higher paid engineers.

Gayle Goodrich/Navistar Engineer: " Since 1953 we've designed all of the Navistar products here in Fort Wayne, all the trucks for this company. It's really sad to see this legacy end, because today all of engineering is gone."

Wayne Bultemeier/Navistar Engineer: " People in Fort Wayne were always dedicated to doing a good job for Navistar, but all of a sudden, Navistar decided they don't want us anymore."

At one point, counting contract employees, there were about 2,000 people doing work at the Meyer Road facility.

Now the number is about 800.

By June it will be reduced to the neighborhood of 300, and by this time next year, it will be down to a few dozen test track workers.

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