uaw-fordNo time was wasted as today marked the first day of open contract negotiations between Ford and the UAW.

The current contract is set to expire Sept. 14.

“Ford and the UAW have come a long way since 2007, and have both benefited from working together,” information found on Ford’s website dedicated to contract talks. “The UAW has taken a constructive approach in working with Ford. Meanwhile, the company has made, kept and exceeded our promises on job creation, in-sourcing and investment.”

With a 10 a.m. press conference held at Cass Tech High School, UAW President Dennis Williams spoke about Ford’s recent announcement concerning the end of production for the carmaker’s Ford Focus and C-Max in Michigan.

The UAW has spent the last few months publically discussing the importance of maintaining manufacturing in the United States. Williams shared that he recently visited the White House to discuss the need for limits on the free trade agreements. He said be believes his areas of concern were well taken.

“Mexico continues to be an issue for us…not just as a union but, also as a country,” UAW President Dennis Williams said. “We are always going to be saying to the companies what can we build here, and how can we replace those products.”

Mexico has been announced as a manufacturing destination for two local automakers, GM and Ford. The breaking news has many in Michigan wondering what is on the horizon for the manufacturing industry locally.

The possible product replacement for Ford’s Focus and C-Max has not yet been disclosed.

Amid speculation that the plant that is responsible for the Ford Focus is in jeopardy of being closed, Ford Executive Vice President John Fleming addressed all speculation.

“We will continue to look at our footprint…but right now, we are looking at what products are the right products, so at the moment closing the plant is not something we are looking at,” Fleming said.

Williams, UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles and Ford CEO Mark Fields expressed that today’s public meeting held at Cass Tech was not a publicity stunt. Instead, it is a deeply rooted reminder that both the UAW and Ford are interested in investing in the community through production and creating jobs.

“We don’t just build cars, we build communities,” Settles said.

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