Canadian Manufacturing

Chicago Ford plant plans $900M investment in deal between automaker, union

Tentative agreement would create 200 new jobs at South Side assembly

CHICAGO—Ford Motor Co. would invest $900 million in its assembly plant on Chicago’s South Side and create about 200 new jobs under a tentative labour agreement between the automaker and United Auto Workers.

The Michigan-based automaker would employ 4,600 workers at the Chicago Assembly Plant to support production of the Explorer, Police Interceptor, Taurus and a new vehicle to be named later, The Munster Times reports. The plant in the Hegewisch neighbourhood also makes the Lincoln MKS, which is being phased out next year.

The four-year agreement approved by union leadership now goes to union members for ratification through Wednesday. The contract includes worker incentives that would lead to an estimated $54 million going immediately into the local economy.

“The agreement, if ratified, will help lead the Ford Motor Co., our employees and our communities into the future,” said John Fleming, Ford executive vice-president of global manufacturing and labour affairs.

The $900 million investment would be more than double the $400 million spent to modernize the 91-year-old plant in 2010 so it could make the Explorer. The SUV is credited with a turnaround at the plant, with employment growing from 3,200 workers in 2011 to 4,400 today.

To keep up with demand, the plant and the Chicago Stamping Plant in the nearby city of Chicago Heights are running around the clock.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement that the contract “is a win for both Ford’s workers and the South Side of Chicago.”

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