Ford bans competitors' vehicles from lot
Firm's Dearborn Truck Plant will require employees to drive a Ford or park across the street.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Employees at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich., will have to drive Ford Motor Co. vehicles to work or park across the street, the plant manager announced earlier this week.
The new parking policy, which is scheduled to take effect Feb. 1, was instituted by plant manager Rob Webber just as Ford reported losses of $1.6 billion from its North American auto operations in 2005 and Monday announced plans to close 14 plants and cut 30,000 jobs as it tries to reverse losses and respond to declining U.S. market share.
The Dearborn Truck Plant, which represents one portion of the Rouge facility, has 2,600 union employees and makes the F-150 pickup truck, the best selling vehicle in the United States.
A Ford spokesman told CNNMoney the company supported the move, although it had not been extended to the other North American manufacturing facilities.
Officials with UAW Local 600, who backed the announcement, are scheduled to conduct talks with management next week to finalize the details and discuss expanding the ban across the entire Rouge facility, union president Jerry Sullivan told CNNMoney.
"There has to be something put in place to grab people's attention and to make a statement that this is a serious thing," said Sullivan, whose union represents approximately 8,000 workers at the larger Rouge complex. "It's up to us to stand up and do what is right and to drive a vehicle from the company you work for."
The Dearborn Truck Plant parking policy will allow vehicles made by non-U.S. Ford brands such as Mazda, Volvo and Land Rover, Sullivan said.
The Detroit News, which first reported the story Friday, said the new parking policy in Dearborn was embraced by factory employees at a meeting to discuss the auto manufacturer's latest restructuring plan.
But one plant employee, who did not want to be quoted, told the paper he wasn't happy he would no longer be able to drive his Chrysler to the factory.
"They can't tell you how to spend your money," said one veteran tradesman. "It's still a free country." He said he got a better deal on his Chrysler than he could on a Ford.
"I got to go where I can get the most bang for my buck," he said.
Another Dearborn Truck employee told the newspaper he approved the move, though.
"You buy what you build," said Rufus McWilliams. "That only makes sense."
The Detroit Truck Plant opened in 2004 as part of the $2 billion renovation of the company's 1,100-acre Rouge facility, the paper reported.
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