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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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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.