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Old 10-04-2003, 05:34   #1 (permalink)
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U.S.A.:Ford says it is unlikely to reconsider closing Lorain plant

By Associated Press

LORAIN, Ohio -- Ford Motor Co. said it likely won't reconsider its decision to close its 1,600-employee Econoline van plant.

Ford plans to close its 1,600-employee assembly plant in Lorain and consolidate production with another plant in Avon Lake, 17 miles away.

The plant will close but not for at least two years, said Roman Krygier, the automaker's group vice president for manufacturing and quality.

"I don't see anything fundamentally changing," he said. "I think consolidation is a given."

Ford said the shutdown would occur during the second half of the four-year United Auto Workers union contract ratified earlier in the week.

Krygier said it was too soon to tell how many Lorain workers would find new jobs at the Ohio Assembly Plant, but that the number would be significant.

The number will be worked out when Ford gives the UAW a proposed closing date, said Jack Hall, president of United Auto Workers Local 425, which represents the Lorain plant.

Hall and Krygier said they expect many Lorain workers will retire. Hall estimated that in two years, 700 to 800 hourly workers at Lorain would be eligible to leave the company with 30 years of service.

Gerald Bantom, UAW's national director of the Ford Department, said he expects all the Lorain workers to be transferred.

Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin said the city has exhausted its options such as offering tax abatement and tax credit.
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