• Aug 29th 2006 at 7:03PM
  • 29
We found two articles today that focused on the state of Ford Motor Company's various manufacturing plants in North America, one that offers a little bit of hope for one plant and the other not so much for the rest.
The ray of hope piece comes from Automotive News, which says that the Canadian Auto Workers union has given a proposal to Ford that if accepted could save the St. Thomas, Ontario plant where the Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis are built from being closed. While the CAW refrained from revealing the specifics of the plan, it involves putting Canada in the running with plants from Mexico and the United States for the contract to build Ford's upcoming B-segment small car. The plan would also have parts maker Magna International build an accompanying plant next to the St. Thomas facility where more Ford cars could be made. The resulting pair of plants would likely become the flexible manufacturing facility Ford said would become part of its recovery plan.

In an article entitled "Ford pits plant vs. plant", the Detroit News explores Ford's strategy of demanding that each plant being considered for closing increase its efficiency, with the added caveat that the most cost-effective and efficient plants will survive the closings. Some analysts quoted think the move by Ford could backfire and create resentment for the company among plantworkers, but really it seems that Ford's just being honest. Time honored union institutions like rigid job descriptions and ample overtime are quickly being tossed out the window as each plant strives to be leaner and meaner the other.

So far only seven of a total 14 plants have been identified for closing, so until the remaining seven are chosen UAW members can expect a lot more belt tightening.

[Source: Automotive News, the Detroit News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      What an idiot!
      • 9 Years Ago
      Tough times for Ford, but the silver lining in all of this is that the UAW is getting progressively weaker.

      Next it should be the teachers unions and other public service unions that need to be swatted down before they ruin education, postal delivery, and just about everything else in which they're involved.

      What Ford and GM are experiencing now is what will happen in the public sector if unions aren't constrained.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Gary, congrats. You've just described what the white collar work force has to go through...ALL THE TIME.

      Granted physical labor is rare in these ranks, but they get NO overtime for their 12 hour days, most make LESS than union members, and they get fired at will. No union hoops to jump through. So, you tell me, who has a raw deal today?? It's a simple fact, union members are NOT subject to most prevailing economic trends as are other workers in this country. I'm sorry, but the playing field is far from "fair".
      • 9 Years Ago
      Thanks for making me among the top 3 dumbest posters here and not number one! I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

      Please learn to use paragraphs. Your screed is too hard to read as written.
      See what I mean about teacher unions who obviously didn't teach you how to write so as to be better understood?

      By the way, I actually do respect your contribution to the scheme of things, but at the present time you're living in a dream world.
      The unions had their day and now it's gone. I hope your kids and/or your employees do much better than whatever the now meaningless unions might do for them.

      • 9 Years Ago
      The sad part is people seem to enjoy the fall of the American auto empire. I buy American not because I have to but because I want to.Do I buy imports sure, but my Saab is owned by GM. I have bought other imports and found them to be no more reliable then domestic.But it is sad that Americans love to see people fail and never think of the pain that follows.
      • 9 Years Ago
      People seem to enjoy the fall of the American auto empire, I think, because they don't respect it. The many, many stupid things they have done are just insanely frustrating to the "home town crowd".
      • 9 Years Ago
      Ahhh Unions,

      I'm so friggen split on unions I'm really at a loss. I understand what they did for this country, and there is some truth in what dave (post #10) has to say about them. But if I could share a story, and it's second hand so don't quote me on the details.

      My best friends Dad worked for the Ford Motor Company via UAW union. He worked "on the line" and did some sort of steel stamping?! (I'm not sure) But either way that is what he did, he found a quicker way of doing this (let just call it steel work) steel work. He was later fired for not obeying protocall. I'm sure there is more to the story, but if you found a more efficient way of doing things, I think you should be rewarded but and not fired.

      Like I said, I'm split on unions. I live in las vegas and all of the casinos are virtually all union and they work out just fine.

      And when It comes to teachers, I think they are some of the *lowest* paid professionals out there.

      For example a starting teachers wage in Clark County Nevada (Las Vegas) is around 26k a year, yes you get an entire summer off, etc. But 26k?! Can't you work at Burger King for 26k? It does not seem very greedy to me. 1/3 of all teacher in Las Vegas work a 2nd job, think about the average home price out here is 330k and your making 26k and you are a college grad, just seems too small. It's sad that 1/3 are working a 2nd job, when it seems like they should focus on lesson plans.

      I remain netural.
      • 9 Years Ago
      #7. I can understand expressing frustration at things, but that is a long shot from desiring with passion its destruction. These people cheer at Fords struggling thinking that the company is an entinty without humanity. Many current workers and retirees depend on Ford. Many non-Ford companies -suppliers, business around factories, etc.- are laying off people TODAY because of Ford's problems. People may be angry at what (former) management has done, but we should give a chance to the companies to change and turn things around. Beating someone when down is not righ, and that applies to American companies as well.
      Finally, to the angry-to-management crowd: Do you think that Nasser and the other poor (former) Ford managers will suffer if Ford does not turn things around? Nope. The blue-collar fellows will.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Iquack, you seem very knowledgeable about unions. What do you do for living?
      • 9 Years Ago
      There's nothing more disgusting than having to listen to some of these buffoons CHEERING the fall of GM and Ford. Any post of bad news in AutoBlog just brings out the hordes. It's ridiculous. If you don't have anything besides "gm and ford should burn to the ground and they deserve to die terrible corporate deaths" then just get the hell out of here. People's goddam lives are at risk here. Yes, people in these organizations made huge mistakes in the past...but what is being suggested, implied and flat out said here, at times, is just wrong.

      Living in Michigan makes this situation all the more dire. Things are terrible here, and they'll actually get worse if these companies fail. Some of you are cheering for peoples lives to be ruined. If anything, as members of the human f---ing race, you should be hoping that these companies are able to turn it around so 10's of thousands of people aren't left on the damn streets.

      I, for one, hope and pray that these two companies are able to align their cost structures, produce unique and high quality products people want and get their respective organizations back on track. It's important to this country. As the late ninetees showed, both of these companies can enjoy great success at the same time.
      • 9 Years Ago
      UAW is a good union gone bad, giving other good unions a bad name. The working people need a voice, safe working conditions, fair pay, and job security, unions give us that. Corporate greed jepardizes all of the above. As long as there is greed we need unions. Trouble is, union greed in its self is hurting unions.
      The guys running the show also must be prepared to tighten their belts as well.
      Everyone must bend. The good of the company is of the upmost importance.
      Sound decisions in product is another ball of wax. In reality there is no big 3 (and forget everyone else) anymore. GM and Ford srategy is still based on big 3 mentality.
      Ford is doing right by telling everyone its down to do or die! I hope the UAW and management both get it.
      • 9 Years Ago
      3. "Unions are not the problem. The stupid management at Ford and GM agreed to these contracts knowing full well that they could not afford them."
      GM & Ford managements were stupid, for sure. But the union held a gun to their heads under strike threats that would have driven buyers to competitors because union contracts for the Big Three expired at different times.
      Also, arrogant managements assumed that GM, Ford, and Chrysler would be each other's only competitors well into the future: they didn't believe that imported cars would be as successful as they've been.
      Now Chrysler is a foreign company and GM & Ford are a mess.
      Blame must be shared by both bad management and union workers who think they work for their union instead of the companies that pay them. These folks are in a dream world.
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