Thursday, April 13, 2006

St. Paul Ford Plant to Close in '09

The union members got the word this AM:
"The international union informed your union leadership at 7:20 a.m. today that Ford Motor Company will be announcing that the Twin Cities assembly plant will be closed in 2009," a written bulletin from the plant's UAW local said. "Although this is not good news for any of us, we still have the opportunity to turn this around. It's not over until it's over."
But Ford is hedging:
Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari said, "We've made no such announcement, and we have nothing to announce at this point."
UAW Local 879, has scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m., where I suspect everything will be more clear.

The Ford Plant, in the Highland area of St. Paul, has been a long time staple for the community. The closing was inevitable as the budget axe was being wielded over the last few years. What will be important, is how the Mayor and Governor work together to assist displaced workers and how to best use the land that may be vacated.

We should know more after the press conference this afternoon.


UPDATE: The linked article above has now been updated with a confirmation from Ford:
The Twin Cities Ford assembly plant will close in 2008.

Ford officials confirmed the St. Paul plant's planned closing, along with the closing of a truck plant in Norfolk, Va., at noon today."The decision is final. The plant will be idled in 2008. That is the time frame," said Ford spokesman Dave Reuter. He added that the precise date for shuttering the St. Paul facility has not been determined.

Ford won't pursue an offer made this past winter by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the local union to locate an alternative fuels research facility in Minnesota. State officials had hoped the offer would entice Ford to keep the St. Paul plant open.
The closing will effect almost 2000 workers. UAW will assist in transitional opportunities for those that opt for that option:
"I can't comment beyond 2007, but I can tell you that we are working with the HAW, which will help our employees through this transition period," Reuter said. "This may involve some retirement, some educational and some separation packages. But it's a little bit too soon to get into those specifics. What I can tell you is that we will act with sensitivity and compassion."
It may be too soon, but as mentioned in the comments below, it's never to early to prepare for the inevitable.

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