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1,000 Avon Lake Ford plant workers gain hours, security as new trucks begin production

Manufacture of the 2016 Ford F-650, along with the F-750, comes to Ohio from Mexico. By Joanna Richards
Manufacture of the 2016 Ford F-650, along with the F-750, comes to Ohio from Mexico. By Joanna Richards

By Joanna Richards

When Ford discontinued its E-Series van last year, its Assembly Plant in Avon Lake shed 200 jobs and reduced hours for 1,000 of its unionized workers. Now, those United Auto Workers members have reason to celebrate, as they return to full-time work, building Ford F-650 and F-750 trucks. In a reversal of fortunes, Ford brought the work to Ohio from Mexico as part of 2011 contract negotiations with the UAW.

Hundreds of union workers cheered along with politicians and company officials as Ford’s President for the Americas, Joe Hinrichs, drove the plant’s first U.S.-made F-650 off the assembly line, giving three honks.

When Ford announced its decision to move production to Ohio, Hinrichs said it would give the company complete control over design, engineering and manufacturing.

Analysts also said bigger vehicles like the trucks bring in higher profits, making higher labor costs in the U.S. more palatable. 

U.S. Representative Mary Kaptur said manufacturing can come back if companies, workers, and government work together.

"I may be one of the few members of Congress who comes from a United Auto Workers family…I have seen such change and transformation," she said. "And today’s celebration with this launch tells us America can do this."

Although Ford has brought these jobs to the U.S., the company has recently invested in other manufacturing operations in Mexico.