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Yarmuth Applauds Ford, UAW Agreement

Responding to a new contract agreement between Ford Motor Company and Louisville’s local United Auto Workers, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., praised the automobile company and its employees for coming together.

Union members in Illinois and Michigan rejected the agreement last week, which made it unclear if the ratification would be approved. But the local union voted in favor of a new contract Tuesday, which helped push ratification of the agreement forward and will result in a $600 million investment at the Kentucky Truck Plant and a new third shift at the Louisville Assembly Plant.

From Yarmuth’s office:

“Starting with our efforts to secure federal resources to re-tool the Louisville Assembly Plant, Ford, the UAW, and the leaders of our community have continually worked together to revitalize manufacturing and spur job growth. As a result of their hard work and the ratification of this contract, Ford will invest $600 million at the Kentucky Truck Plant and bring a new vehicle and third-shift to the Louisville Assembly Plant. This is great news for local workers and great news for Louisville.

I congratulate Ford and UAW on reaching this agreement and guaranteeing that Ford will be a major force of job creation and economic growth in Louisville for years to come.”

In 2009, a $5.9 billion loan to Ford was announced as part of the federal government’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program to help Ford Motor Company retool facilities in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. This program provided funding to help auto companies produce cars in the U.S. that increase fuel economy standards.”

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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 Contract Brings Big Plans For Louisville

The new tentative contract agreement reached between the Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers contains some major benefits for the automaker’s two Louisville plants.

Under the agreement, Ford will add a third shift at the retooled Louisville Assembly Plant to produce a new vehicle. Officials say the move will create more than 1,000 jobs.

The company will also invest another $600 million in the Kentucky Truck Plant.

Ford had earlier announced a $600 million investment to upgrade the Louisville Assembly Plant for production of the Escape sport utility vehicle, creating 1,800 jobs.

Mayor Greg Fischer says Ford has done an impressive job of emerging from the recession.

“Why did it happen? One, they didn’t have to ask for money, they thought that they had a turnaround plan in place. Alan Mulally came on as their CEO, and really helped sharpen the focus of the company. You’re seeing a company that obviously is very effective on a global scale in terms of sourcing but also in terms of flexibility of their manufacturing plants here,” he said.

The agreement is subject to ratification by the United Auto Workers members.

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Around 30 Take Latest Ford Buyout Offer

Local United Auto Workers union officials say they were surprised at the number of Ford workers who accepted the company’s latest buyout offer, which ended Friday. It was the fourth such offer from the company since 2006, as they try to reduce their workforce.

Scott Eskridge is the union chairman at the Kentucky Truck Plant. He says the number of people taking the buyouts is falling dramatically.

“We’ve had so many buyouts over the last couple of years, we’ve had roughly 15-hundred people take the buyouts,” says Eskridge. “So the ones that are here now have anywhere from ten to fifteen years seniority, and once you’re that invested, it really hard to try to go anywhere else and start over.”

Eskridge says 13 people out of nearly four-thousand employed at the Kentucky Truck Plant took the latest buyout offer. Another twenty or so took the buyout at the Louisville Assembly Plant, which employs around two-thousand.

That plant (LAP) is slated for re-tooling next year, and will be converted into producing smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

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275 Louisville Assembly Plant Workers Laid Off

275 workers at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant are being laid off today.

The workers on Ford’s Explorer line are being cut as the vehicle is taken out of production.

Local United Auto Workers Union Building Chairman Steven Stone says the union tried to prevent the layoffs, but employment will be boosted when the plant begins manufacturing a new fuel-efficient vehicle in 2011.

“They are predicting to run multiple shifts out there, so I’m sure every single one of those that are laid off will be back,” he says. “I’m sure of that.”

Stone says the laid off workers will receive some health benefits and about 70% of their salaries for one year. A Ford spokesperson did not return a phone call for comment.

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Local Ford Workers Approve Concessions

Local members of the United Auto Workers Sunday narrowly approved concessions in their contract with Ford Motor Company. The two Louisville Ford plants employ about 5,600 people.

The concessions were also approved nationally.

The concessions include a pay freeze, loss of bonuses, suspension of the Jobs Bank program that pays laid-off workers and a reduction in break time.

Ford says the changes are necessary in order to allow the struggling automaker to cut costs and restructure.

Last month, national UAW president Ron Gettelfinger urged members to vote for the labor agreement changes.