April 18, 2014

Elyria
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Avon Lake gets new ride


Body shop key to Ford plant’s future

AVON LAKE — The Ohio Assembly Plant will be getting a new product and a flexible body shop that will secure jobs at the plant for at least four more years.

Nick Gallogly, chairman of the UAW Local 2000, said Monday’s agreement was an “excellent” one for Ohio Assembly Plant workers, and one that helps protect Ohio jobs.

Contract highlights

The pact between Ford Motor Co. and the national UAW saved the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, which had been marked for closure.

Some highlights of the new pact, according to a summary of the contract posted on the union Web site at www.uaw.org, are:

• The Avon Lake plant is one of five to be promised a new, flexible body shop that allows for the production of multiple products. The others are the Kansas City Assembly Plant, the Wayne Integrated Stamping and Assembly Plant in Michigan, the Kentucky Truck Plant, and the Louisville Assembly Plant, also in Kentucky.
The Ohio Assembly Plant will continue to produce the Econoline van, and it will get a new product in the future.
The Walton Hills Stamping Plant in Ohio will handle the stamping work for the new vehicle to be made at the Avon Lake plant.
The Cleveland Casting Plant, which was to close in 2009, will remain open for another year — closing in 2010.
Cleveland Engine Plant 1 will launch production of the D35 engine in 2008 and see a new product assigned to it in the future.
Cleveland Engine Plant 2 will continue producing the Duratec 30, which will receive an engineering upgrade in 2008 and UAW and Ford pledge to work together to identify future work opportunities.

Source: United Auto Workers

“The future for Ohio Assembly is very bright,” Gallogly said. “We have a new product slated for the future, and, all-in-all, I feel we got a very excellent agreement this time.”

Gallogly couldn’t discuss what the new product will be for Avon Lake, but he said the flex body shop will enable the plant’s 2,600 employees to produce multiple products on the same assembly lines.

The plant will also continue to produce Econoline vans.

The plant’s new body shop is one of five promised by Ford throughout the country, and it was awarded based on the Avon Lake plant’s ability to build quality units even with a stepped-up workload, Gallogly said.

Updating the plant’s body shop was one of the main things the union had to pursue, he said, especially if local jobs were to survive.

“Ever since Ford announced they were closing Lorain, that’s when the fight started,” he said, referencing the Lorain Assembly Plant, which closed in December 2005. “After consolidation, I knew we wouldn’t survive unless we got the flex body shop.”

The Walton Hills Stamping Plant also will benefit with more work in support of the new product in Avon Lake, and the Cleveland Casting Plant in Brook Park will remain open until 2010 — a year longer than what was expected.

Gallogly said the negotiating team succeeded in protecting retirees, and it bartered a deal that he felt was better than the contracts recently ratified by workers at GM and Chrysler.

“At this point, I feel we’ve got a good agreement for the way the times are,” he said. “I’m happy for the assembly plant, the communities, the county and the state."

Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.