Automotive supplier Forvia is closing its metals unit near Detroit and laying off 268 employees, according to a WARN notice to the state.
The cuts in Highland Park are expected to be complete by Jan. 31.
Employees are represented by UAW Local 155. Union Vice President Waymon Halty said the layoffs are impacting only temporary employees and are the result of Forvia moving its metal framing operation to Mexico.
Halty said it was a cost-savings decision made a couple of years ago.
"We tried our best to keep it here in the United States," Halty said. "That department is going to Mexico because it comes with a lot of costs and productivity issues and quality issues."
Forvia spokeswoman Misty Matthews said the company is working to place impacted employees into open positions.
"To meet our manufacturing and productions needs we will be moving some production from Highland Park to another Faurecia facility," Matthews said in an email. "Changes like these help us effectively and efficiently leverage our manufacturing footprint, better service our customers and leverage utilization to meet our production requirements."
Forvia, which recently changed its name from Faurecia, has its North American base in Auburn Hills. It operates 360 plants and R&D centers around the world, including 15 in Michigan and 17 in Mexico, according to its website.
Its Highland Park plant supplies seats for the Jeep Wagoneer program at Stellantis' Warren Truck Assembly Plant. The automaker announced in October that it was cutting its third shift at the plant to "improve production efficiency" amid the microchip shortage.
Halty said that move had a trickle-down impact on suppliers, but production of the SUV is projected to increase substantially in the first quarter.
Suppliers such as Forvia have kept a large base of temporary employees in response to volatile market conditions, including sporadic production stoppages and a tight labor market, Halty said.
The decision to close the metals operation in Highland Park means less local work, but the bright side is permanent employees were not impacted, Halty added.
"We were better off having the department there, but the cost of it wasn't making sense," he said.