December 21, 2014

Elyria
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Rep. Lundy says Ford owes workers full disclosure

Matt Lundy

Matt Lundy

State Rep. Matt Lundy, D-Elyria, is asking Ford Motor Co. for answers after layoffs were announced at the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake. Lundy said it’s important to end speculation coming from the community, which is hurting workers and their families who have been affected.

In a letter sent Thursday to Bruce Hettle, vice president of North America manufacturing at Ford, Lundy asks the company to end confusion by providing more information to community leaders.

“I am writing today to express concern about what 2014 will present for the plant, the workers and their families. There is much confusion which is causing anxiety for the workers, their families and the community,” he wrote. “I am writing to ask that you please try to better inform us of employment numbers and timelines for the changes being made at the plan. It is understandable that plans are often fluid, but I think it’s important that those impacted have the ‘same’ information that is available at this time.”

The layoffs of approximately 900 employees — those with fewer than 22 years of seniority — were announced to union leaders Monday. Mary Springowksi, a United Auto Workers team leader at the plant, said layoffs were never mentioned at a Sunday rank-and-file meeting and workers were “blindsided.’’

She said workers were told they would only be sidelined for about five or six weeks for plant retooling for the new vehicle lines, but work on the new product line was pushed back until next year, according to a letter from plant manager Jeff Carrier to Tim Rowe, UAW Local 2000 chairman.

A Ford spokeswoman confirmed half of the staff would be laid off in August, but she did not comment further.

Lundy, who said he’s been in contact with Ford and other city leaders, asked that conjectures about the future of the company end until more facts are available.

“I don’t think anyone should be speculating at all,” he said.

In the letter to Ford, Lundy indicated that he would be willing to work with the company as it introduces the new product line of F-650 and F-750 trucks, expected to begin next year.

Lundy said the Avon Lake plant has the capacity to bring in other product lines, and he hopes it will do so.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.