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US:Judge upholds $4.8 million award to ex-Ford manager

Judge upholds $4.8 million award to ex-Ford manager

Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- A federal judge has denied Ford Motor Co.'s request to throw out a $4.8 million jury award to a former manager who said he was fired for objecting to hiring unqualified workers.

Stephen Himmel, 55, had said in his lawsuit against Ford that company and United Auto Workers union officials had an unwritten deal that required setting aside 10 percent of hourly jobs for union-picked candidates. Ford and union officials disputed that there was such an agreement.

Ford had asked U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith to throw out all or part of the jury's award in October to Himmel, who was labor relations supervisor for more than a decade at the Sharonville transmission plant in suburban Cincinnati.

Himmel was fired in October 1997, and he sued Ford two years later. He argued the firing was retaliation for his complaints that the nationwide agreement with the UAW violated federal labor law and resulted in hiring convicted felons and unqualified relatives of union officials.

"It's continued vindication," Himmel told The Cincinnati Enquirer for a story Thursday. "I thought that the court and the jury nailed it."

The 40-page ruling issued by Beckwith on Tuesday denied Ford's motion for a new trial and for damages reduction.

"We respectfully disagree with the judge's decision, and we plan to appeal," Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The company said Himmel was fired because he violated labor law when he improperly promoted union bargaining representatives to positions that should have been open to all hourly workers. Himmel's attorneys say Ford's arguments were already rejected by federal courts.

Four Ford executives testified at the trial that they did not know of the agreement. UAW officials also had said they did not know of any deal that set a certain number of openings aside.

The Sharonville plant employs 2,200 workers, including 1,950 hourly UAW members.

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.....
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