A future without Ford – the new reality

By Kyle Rea
St. Thomas Times-Journal
As fallout continues from the news that Ford’s St. Thomas Assembly Plant will shut its doors in fall 2011, three of the biggest casualties locally — Southwold township, the Lear Seating plant and the Elgin-St. Thomas United Way — are taking a look at a future without the plant.
Last Friday, leaders of the Canadian Auto Workers union confirmed what has long been suspected, that the St. Thomas Ford facility will shut its doors in September, 2011, as the company looks to phase out production of the large cars manufactured there — the Crown Victoria, Lincoln Town Car and Grand Marquis. When that happens, 1,400 people will lose their jobs.
Continue reading

Ford’s closure of St. Thomas assembly plant to affect thousands of spinoff jobs

crown vic
TORONTO — The impact of the closure of a Ford assembly plant in southwestern Ontario will extend far beyond the plant itself, costing the region thousands of spinoff jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue, according to union officials and local politicians.

Ford (NYSE:F) announced Friday the plant in St. Thomas, near London, will close in 2011 due to a lack of demand for the full-sized sedans it produces.

The closure of a major manufacturing facility can be disastrous to the region in which it’s located, and Canadian Auto Workers president Ken Lewenza estimated that 6,000 spinoff jobs will be lost above and beyond the 1,400 workers directly employed by the plant.
Full story

Ford Canada’s labour costs highest in world

Hourly labour costs at Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. (F-N6.84-0.13-1.87%) manufacturing operations are about $16 (U.S.) higher than similar costs at U.S. plants, sources close to the negotiations between the auto maker and the Canadian Auto Workers union said Friday.

Ford’s labour costs in Canada are higher than those anywhere else in the world, the sources said, meaning it’s difficult to make new investment commitments for its operations, such as the new products the CAW is seeking for a plant in St. Thomas, Ont., that is at the top of the endangered list.

“The hyper-competitive nature of this business globally means you just cannot be the highest-cost labour jurisdiction on the planet and expect those kinds of guarantees,” one source familiar with the discussions said.
Full story

CAW says Ford Canada wants to reach new labor deal

TORONTO (AP) – Ford has asked the Canadian Auto Workers to match recent concessions reached in labor deals with General Motors Canada and Chrysler Canada so the company can remain competitive, the union said Tuesday.
CAW negotiator Mike Vince said although the union’s current contract with Ford doesn’t expire until 2011, Ford management outlined why the automaker needs a new contract to remain competitive in its Canadian and U.S operations during a meeting last night.
Full story