Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fate of Perrysburg Township Chrysler plant in question

A Perrysburg Township vehicle parts factory of DaimlerChrysler AG apparently will not be converted to one of the firm’s three main V-6 engine plants, raising questions about plant’s future.

Union leaders and workers at the Toledo Machining Plant a year ago voted on a labor contract with work-rule changes and a cut of 800 employees in exchange for a switch to a $700 million engine plant by 2011.

It was to be one of three factories to make Chrysler’s new generation of more fuel-efficient V-6s. The company said today it would announce Wednesday a major investment in its Kenosha, Wisc., engine plant for its Phoenix project.

The company, whose U.S. headquarters is in Auburn Hills, previously said it would build similar Phoenix engines in Trenton, Mich., and Saltillo, Mexico. A year ago, Trenton and Kenosha were mentioned by local union leaders as the likely other two plants in the project.

Chrysler officials said today the suburban Toledo plant still has a future with the firm, but declined further comment. The company never acknowledged the northwest Ohio plant was to be part of the Phoenix group.

United Auto Workers officials could not be reached for comment today. UAW Local 1435 leaders and members said last June that the contract changes were to save the factory, switching it from making steering columns and torque converters to engines.

If the new agreement wasn’t ratified, the plant was to close by 2012, they said.

The plant has 1,430 workers. It was to stop making steering columns this year, stampings in 2009, and torque converters by 2012. It was to make cylinder blocks, cylinder heads, crankshafts, and assemble engine parts, union officials said.

The factory would have about 600 workers once the switchover was made, said union officials and members.

Among the contract changes ratified were fewer work classifications to enable employees to handle multiple tasks, work weeks would shift to four 10-hour days from five eight-hour days, and new hires would be paid less than existing workers.

Built in 1967, the 1.2-million square foot plant off of Oregon Road is next to the Ohio Turnpike.

Posted By Hemidakota

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