CA:Ford union urges Canada action on auto imports
Ford union urges Canada action on auto imports
TORONTO -- The Canadian government must do more to support the domestic auto industry or risk facing more plant closures such as the one announced by Ford Motor Co. today, the head of the Canadian Auto Workers said.
CAW president Buzz Hargrove said the Canadian government needs to reach an agreement with Asian countries that he says discourage Canadian-made auto imports through a raft of nontariff barriers.
His comments followed Ford's announcement that it would close an engine plant in Windsor, Ontario, as part of its beefed-up restructuring plan that will slash $5 billion in costs and cut nearly 45,000 jobs.
"Until we find a way to have fair trade with Asia you're going to continue to have the kind of announcements we had from Ford Motor Co., you're going to have them from General Motors and DaimlerChrysler," Hargrove said. "It's unfortunate and devastating for a lot of our members and their families...that we are now suffering one more time because of lack of automotive action by our government."
According to Hargrove, imports from Japan and South Korea account for 25 percent of the Canadian market, or about 1 in every 4 vehicles on the roads.
Hargrove did not specify how many jobs would be lost from the closure of the Windsor plant, where about 700 workers make V-6 engines.
The CAW plans to ask Ford to put more money toward early retirement packages but does anticipate that would solve the job-loss problem in Windsor even in the "best case scenario."
The news was not all bad for Ford Canada workers as the automaker's plan breathed new life into its assembly plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, and landed another vehicle for its plant in Oakville, Ontario.
Production of the Lincoln Town Car will be shifted to the St. Thomas plant sometime late next year from Michigan, which Hargrove said reinforces the plant until through 2011.
"Ford wouldn't put the money in and the transfer of the machinery and equipment that it will take to build the Town Car in St. Thomas if their plan was to close that facility," he said.
The St. Thomas plant is scheduled to lose a shift in April but Hargrove said the CAW intends to pursue every opportunity to keep the second shift in the rotation.
Ford's Oakville plant will get production of a crossover based on the Ford Fairlane concept. The seven-passenger vehicle is geared for families and will arrive on showroom floors in 2008.
Ford also said today it would cut annual costs by about $5 billion by the end of 2008 and reduce its salaried staff by about a third as part of its accelerated restructuring.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....