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Ford Prepares for Production of 2013 Escape SUV

Ford Motor Company will soon begin filling spots at the Louisville Assembly Plant to maintain two full-time production shifts to build the new 2013 Escape.

“We just finished with our preproduction builds. We’re right now doing all the work stations and everything else and probably most of the maintenance guys are going through orientations on some of the transference, finishing them up,” said Steve Stone, the local United Auto Workers’ bargaining chairman.

The plant should have two full shifts up and running in the middle of March, including nearly 2,900 workers who will soon crank out the new Escape, he said. This will add nearly 700 positions to the 2,200 that have been working on a pre-production build of the sport utility vehicle.

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Ford Shows Off 2013 Escape, Leads SUV Sales

Ford Motor Company has unveiled the new 2013 Escape SUV, which will begin rolling off the Louisville Assembly Plant this spring.

Earlier this year, Ford and the United Auto Workers union ratified a new four-year contract that calls for investments of over $600 million in the Louisville Assembly Plant. Hiring has been ongoing, but demand for the new Escape will determine how fast the process goes.

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Ford Expects Hiring 3,100 Jobs By End of 2012

Ford Motor Company expects to hire all the new employees for its two Louisville plants by the end of next year.

Gov. Steve Beshear joined Mayor Greg Fischer and Ford Motor President of the Americas Mark Fields in Louisville on Thursday. The politicians cheered the ratification of a new 4-year contract between Ford and the United Auto Workers union in front of around 20 local UAW members.

The contract invests $1.2 billion and adds 3,100 jobs to the Kentucky Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly Plant. Hiring for the second shift at the L.A.P. is already underway. Ford expects to have the process complete by next summer, said Fields, and Ford will give precedent for the jobs to previous local UAW members.

“Also the Folks that are currently working in Kansas City that produce the Escape, they have the opportunity per the UAW contract, to follow their product so to speak. I would say as we look at the third shift we’ll probably see for the most past a majority of those folks that will be hired will be new hires,” said Fields.

Hiring for the third shift will begin sometime next year, depending on market demand for the new Escape SUV, he said. Profits for the current Escape hit a record first half, he said.

Beshear said expanding production may help spawn additional investments.

“And I expect to see more evidence of that in the months and the years to come,” he said.

Ford officials did not say if spin-off investments were likely in Louisville or Kentucky. The company already purchases from more than 180 suppliers across this state, said officials.

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United Auto Workers Union Officially Ratifies Contract With Ford Motors

The United Auto Workers union has officially ratified its four-year contract with the Ford Motor Company.

Louisville’s local 862 UAW helped push for ratification after 53 percent of union workers at Louisville’s two plants favored the new contract. Voting ended Tuesday night on the contract, which includes over $1 billion of investments at the two Louisville facilities.

“We didn’t tell people how to vote,” said Todd Dunn, president of UAW 862. “We wanted to make sure we answered every question they had, whether it be on the floor giving explanations or at the explanation meeting. That was our main goal was to answer the questions, dispel the rumors and mistruths, because there were a lot out on the floor,” he said.

Dunn said rumors about the contract’s details led many union members to be concerned.

“It was just rumors, rumors where somebody says one thing and it grows to another and the next thing you know its out on the floor it’s on Facebook and it gets out of whack,” said Dunn.

Many union members were still not pleased with the contract. Several concessions that workers made when Ford decided to remain independent from a federal bailout were left out like overtime pay and additional holidays, but it does include signing bonuses and inflation payments.

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Louisville’s Ford Union Ratifies New 4-Year Contract

Louisville’s local United Auto Workers union has voted in favor of a new contract with Ford Motor Company. The last of the votes were counted Tuesday night and Louisville’s Local UAW 862 helped push for ratification of the agreement.

Local UAW 862 voted with a slight majority of 53 percent to ratify the agreement, according to the local’s Facebook page. Ford and the UAW reached an agreement on Oct. 4 but workers had to ratify it with a majority vote. The contract promises more than $1.2 billion in investments at Ford’s two Kentucky assembly plants.

The agreement covers around 41,000 Ford workers in the U.S. The UAW has now reached agreements with two of the three Detroit automakers. General Motors Company reached an agreement last month and Chrysler Group LLC will wrap up voting next week.

Last week, some local unions in Chicago and Michigan shot down the contract and it was unclear which way the ratification of the contract would sway. Workers who opposed the agreement have voiced concern that the contract doesn’t give back some of the things they lost in previous agreements when Ford tried to remain independent of a federal bailout. Some concessions they gave up include annual raises, cost-of-living increases and additional holidays.

Most workers won’t get annual raises under the contract, but they will get profit-sharing checks, and inflation adjustment payments through 2015.

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Local Union Could Decide 4-Year Contract With Ford Motors

The fate of a contract between Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers union could come down to Louisville’s local chapter, which begins voting this week on the proposed four-year contract with the company.

There have been mixed reviews on the new contract so far, and in several cities local unions have shot it down. The proposal offers workers signing bonuses and inflation protection, but it does not include several concessions lost when Ford was in financial trouble.

Ford is prepared to invest heavily in the two Louisville plants if the contract is approved. Over $1 billion dollars and over 1,000 jobs are included in the new plan over the four years.

Louisville hosts one of the largest Ford unions and is one of the last to vote whether to ratify the contract. A majority vote nationwide is needed to ratify any agreement with Ford, but it may come down to Louisville’s UAW 862, which represents around 5,000 members.

If the UAW does not approve the contract, negotiations will likely continue. The Ford union voted earlier this year to authorize a strike if necessary but UAW officials say they don’t think a strike is necessary, but will provide a three day notice if one will occur.

Voting will take place Monday and Tuesday.

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Louisville’s UAW Union Votes on Ford Motor Contract Next Week

Louisville’s local United Auto Workers union will vote on an agreement with Ford Motor Company next week.

Michigan’s local union voted against the agreement Tuesday. Skilled-trade workers were less in favor of the contract than production workers. Around 50 percent of all reporting local unions have decided the contract doesn’t meet the concerns of union employees. A UAW majority vote is needed to accept any agreement with Ford.

Unions are voting on a four-year contract that hasn’t replaced some key concessions lost in previous agreements with Ford Motors.

The new agreement would invest in new productions and create around 1,600 new jobs at Ford’s two Kentucky plants. Local union leaders are expected to host question and answer sessions on the contract this weekend.

Louisville members will vote next Monday and Tuesday.

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Ford Motors Unveils Accident Prevention Technology

Ford Motor Company is showing off new technology in Louisville that allows cars to communicate with each other.

The technology would help prevent some 80 percent of all light-vehicle crashes, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report. Ford demonstrated its research project in the parking lot at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The cars monitor a 300 meter circle and communicate with other cars using wi-fi and GPS and warn drivers of potential accidents.

Ford and several other car companies have invested in both research and policy to present to the the U.S. Department of Transportation, said Mary Wroten, Ford’s accident avoidance expert.

“With this type of technology you’ll be able to get a type of warning and see things you that you could not traditionally see and sense the vehicle is coming in the opposite direction and tell you to take some type of action and avoid the eminent threat,” said Wroten.

The technology would assist in hazardous situations including intersections, lane-passing or sudden breaking. All cars would need to have compatible equipment to communicate, said Wroten.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will decide in 2013 whether it wants to adopt the technology in all vehicles. It could be a regulation by 2020, she said.