WSJ: Hazelwood Ford plant again on possible closure list
St. Louis, MO – The Wall Street Journal reports today that Ford is considering closing five plants in North America that employ about 7,500 workers.
Ford has promised to say early next year how it will restructure its North America operations to deal with lower sales and a deepening financial crunch.
The Journal says the current working plan is to close assembly plants in St. Louis, Atlanta, and St. Paul, Minn. as well as facilities in Canada and Mexico.
The paper also says those plans are subject to change; those five plants employ about 6% of Ford's total workforce in North America.
Any closings would be on top of plans announced last month to eliminate 4,000 white-collar jobs at Ford.
The prospect of closing, though, is not new for the St. Louis plant. Leaders in Missouri scrambled two years ago to offer the company tax breaks and other incentives.
In return, Ford agreed to keep the plant open into 2007, but made no promises for after that time.
Hazelwood's Mayor, TR Carr, says it's too early to panic over the newspaper's report. He's been through this plenty of times over the past few years.
The plant is where the Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs are made; it's often been rumored to be on the chopping block.
The average Ford worker in Hazelwood earns on average, nearly $65,000, about twice the salary of the average Missourian.