- Nov 17, 2004
This was emailed to me, I don't have a link to the original but here is the story:
This is huge news for our local economy so I thought I would share. This plant has been closed for quite a while and I think it is a shock to everyone that it is coming back, even in a limited capacity!The Windsor Star ? Saturday, March 29, 2008
Ont. turns key on Essex Engine - Ford plant reopening
First phase of plant reopening to start with $17M from province
BY CHRIS VANDER DOELEN, AND DAVE HALL STAR BUSINESS REPORTERS
Ford of Canada?s closed Essex Engine plant will get a $17-million push toward eventual reopening Monday from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
A ceremony at the plant Monday to announce the provincial funding represents the first phase of the possible reopening of the plant, sources said Friday. The reopening will be structured so that the federal government could contribute down the road, should it choose, the sources said.
One source said incentives totalling $17 million would be forthcoming from the province in the short term, with more to come later if the rest of the larger project receives approval by Ford and the federal government.
?Discussions would continue for the next phase,? the source said. ?But this is a good start. It?s a phasedin approach ? this is to get it going.?
Sandra Pupatello, minister of economic development and trade, acknowledged Friday that a funding announcement would be made but declined to provide details.
Last year, Ford said it would consider placing a new product in the idled plant provided the provincial and federal governments contributed a total of $60 million toward the project.
The province said at the time it had committed $30 million but the federal government has downplayed any chance it would contribute to the project.
In February, CAW president Buzz Hargrove said a new competitive operating agreement reached between the company and CAW Local 200 could pave the way for a $600-million project which could provide employment for between 550 and 600 people. Hargrove said at the time that the ?low-volume? work Ford proposed last year has nearly doubled in size since the company, the union and senior levels of government began discussing it.
Originally worth $350 million, Hargrove said the project could call for a major retooling of the plant.
CAW Local 200 president Mike Vince said Friday he remains ?cautiously optimistic? about the potential recall of up to 600 workers. ?I?ve been told two or three times in the past that an announcement was imminent, so for now I will remain cautiously optimistic,? said Vince. Vince said a new operating agreement for the Essex Engine Plant includes outsourcing of some non-core jobs such as janitorial and shipping and receiving, as well as an amalgamation of some skilled trades categories. ?Our members recognized how important this is to the company, themselves and the community by agreeing overwhelmingly to the agreement last year,? said Vince.
?Production workers voted 94 per cent in favour, the trades voted 90 per cent in favour, and I think that shows they understand what is going on in the automotive industry not only here but across the world.?
Vince also said that Local 200 currently has 1,078 members on layoff or notice of layoff and about 500 more at the Essex Aluminum plant facing layoff with the plant slated to close by spring of next year. ?This would offset that closure and it would be a step in the right direction and provide some positive news.?
Hargrove called Monday?s announcement ?very, very good news and something we?ve been waiting to hear for weeks.?
Ford of Canada spokeswoman Lauren More did not return a call Friday requesting details of the announcement. Neither did Essex MP Jeff Watson, whose Conservative government has been assailed for not offering Ford cash to help reopen the plant.
Idled since the fall, only a handful of skilled trades people and others are still working inside the plant, decommissioning its lone remaining assembly line. Essex Engine used to have two assembly lines when it last ran at full production.
?We?ve been taking everything apart,? said one of the workers, who asked not to be named. ?The told us to wipe everything down ? they?re making a presentation on Monday.? The Ford worker said they have been told Essex Engine won?t reopen for well over a year, until some time during 2009, in order to build a 2010 model year product. Full employment and full production under the program won?t be achieved until some time in 2010. The worker said union officials have told members of CAW Local 200 the new product is a modern, fuel-efficient version of Ford?s 5.0-litre V-8 engine ? ?the old 302.?
Other sources have said the first phase of reopening Essex would merely be parts production ? putting out engine cranks and connecting rods for a Ford engine assembly plant in the United States, most likely Romeo, Mich.
Essex Engine?s laid-off employees have been told to expect to see the old MVL (medium volume line) nearly doubled in size. The old MVL employed about 220 people on one shift, plus maintenance staff and supervisors.
The new operation would also employ a total of about 300 people per shift on two shifts, but not until 2010.
WINDSOR - Three hundred of Ford of Canada's laid off Windsor employees will be called back to work under a new investment announced by the company this morning.
Ford will spend $170 million on a new engine program whose details were to be revealed at a press conference this morning.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was to announce a $17 million contribution to the company's investment.