Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ford Repays Union Concessions with Closing of Foundry Plant

This is the opening paragraph in the Cleveland Plain Dealer's story on the closing of the Ford foundry plant in Brook Park, Ohio:

"Barely a year after workers agreed to concessions to guarantee new work at Ford Motor Co.'s foundry in Brook Park, the automaker announced Monday it will close that factory in 2009."

And where are the jobs going? "Joe Hinrichs, Ford's vice president for North American manufacturing, said the company is getting out of the foundry business altogether, sending that work to a series of suppliers in Canada, Europe and South America."

This part of the story explains what happened:

"A year ago, the Brook Park plants were among the first to agree to new work rules that make it easier for Ford to outsource work and move workers between different jobs. In return, the casting plant was supposed to get the engine block for a 6.2-liter V-8 engine to be used in upcoming pickups and SUVs.

"Ford Motor Co. told us if we passed the competitive operating agreement and put ourselves in a more-competitive position, we'd get new work," said UAW Local 1250 President Tim Levandusky.

He said he knew Ford would have trouble keeping that promise a few months after the company made it. Instead of using cast iron, the automaker wanted to make the engine block with a newer graphite technology that would have meant expensive upgrades at the plant."

Oh, one other thing, while Ford and GM are outsourcing casting operations, guess who isn't? "Ford's biggest foreign-owned competitors, Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co., avoid outsourcing engine components because of the need to guarantee quality on those vital parts". By the way, Toyota is kicking Ford's butt on sales of vehicles.

Don't worry, though. Some writer like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, who married an heiress from a billionaire's family, will tell us why globalization is good for us and why we should be happy that Ohio has lost hundred of thousands of manufacturing jobs. Of course, he doesn't have to worry about losing his job, or does he? After all, couldn't the NYT find pompous windbags in India who would do his job for a fraction of the cost?

Click on the link in this entry's title to read the whole PD article.

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