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Ford announces layoffs at Brook Park plant as UAW targeted strike continues

The Ford plant in Brook Park, Ohio, also known as Cleveland Engine Plant 1, seen in a 2016 photo outside the plant gates.

Beginning Monday, 375 workers at the Ford plant in Brook Park are being laid off.

United Auto Workers Local 1250 says they’ve been told the layoffs are because of a backlog of engines due to Ford plant closures in Michigan and Chicago associated with the ongoing nationwide UAW strike.

"We feel that they should not be laying our folks off because of that”, said Pat Wallace, spokesman for UAW Local 1250. “There are plenty of places to store stuff.

Nonetheless, Wallace said workers are taking it in stride.

"Our folks are in high spirits”, claimed Wallace. “Even though they have anxiety they're like, 'we're fighting for a fair and equitable agreement.' Our international union, we're standing behind them to stop the bleeding for the workforce in this country."

The strike, which began Sept. 15, continues nationally. While no deal has been reached, significant progress has been made on cost-of-living increases, and General Motors has made a major concession by putting an electric battery manufacturing under the master agreement, according to United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain.

“We've been told for months that this is impossible,” said Fain. “We've been told the EV future must be a race to the bottom, and now we've called their bluff. What this will mean for our membership cannot be understated.”

The 375 layoffs out of the more than 1800 workers at the Brook Park plant add to the nearly 11,000 layoffs around the country, not including the nearly 20,000 UAW members currently on strike.

Those laid off will receive $500 per week in money set aside for strike pay.

“We just hope the public understands what our fight and what our flight is and that they stand behind us and support us the best they can,” Wallace said. “We're here for the betterment of all the communities and the working class in this country."

As negotiations continue between the UAW and automakers, UAW president Shawn Fain estimates both sides have leverage left.

“We know their pain points, we know their moneymakers, and we know the plants they really don't want to see struck, and they know we've got more cards left to play,” Fain said in a Friday news announcement to union members.

According to Fain, the union has moved GM, Ford and Stellantis further than anyone thought possible, including when it comes to compensation for temporary workers.

“We've won raises for temps to $20 an hour at GM and Stellantis and $21 an hour at Ford,” Fain said. “All three have made commitments around converting temps, but there's still a lot of work to be done” Fain told union members during a live announcement on Friday.”

The Stellantis plant in Streetsboro remains the only Northeast Ohio facility on strike, but layoffs have hit the GM Parma metals plant and the Ford facility in Brook Park.

According to Ford, the Brook Park plant known as Cleveland Engine Plan No. 1, opened in 1952 and employs 1834 workers, 1627 of which are hourly. They produce 2.0/2.3-liter EcoBoost I4 engines and 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engines.

Josh Boose is associate producer for newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.
Glenn Forbes is supervising producer of newscasts at Ideastream Public Media.