Ford Romeo Engine Plant in Romeo. (Photo: Google Maps)
Ford Motor Co. plans to shut down the Romeo Engine Plant and relocate or buy out an estimated 600 UAW workers, four sources with knowledge of the situation told Free Press on Thursday.  Construction officers gave the news to workers during early shifts less than 12 hours after a proposed tentative agreement was made public, after three days of intense negotiation.
Alerts were given to hourly workers including electricians, millrights, pipefitters and machine repairmen around 7:30 Thursday.
"People are shocked and very disappointed," said a skilled craftsman who has worked in Romeo for more than 10 years. "We have a small workforce now, but at one time we had over 1,800 people. We think our union failed us and the management was not much help."
He added, "We were once the best in the world, building a 4.6 liter V8 engine."
Currently, the plant builds engines of various sizes for different applications, ranging from the high performance Mustang Cobra for the big F-Series pick-up trucks. Sources with knowledge of the plans say that the production work currently underway in Romeo will relocate to other US plants, that this is not about shipping work out of the country.
Plans to terminate operations will not result in job losses, sources emphasized
Neither Kelli Felker at Ford nor Brian Rothenberg at UAW will comment.
Each hourly Ford workers in Romeo will be offered the same pattern offered to traditional workers in Lordstown, and anyone who does not take the purchase could go "up the road to the Van Dyke plant," the source said. "This is not like a Lordstown situation, where families were rolled out."
Most of the 1,600 GM workers have moved to jobs at other GM plants in other States. But some could not move for a job transfer. In the contract with UAW, GM offers assistance packages for those workers in Lordstown, including $ 75,000 payments for qualified production workers and $ 85,000 for retired workers. There are also buyout options for those who are not eligible to resign.
The plant's closure in Lordstown, Ohio, made arguments for General Motors employees, who said the heartless announcement of the plan inspired them to beat the company and remain on strike for six weeks.  Sources close to the contract negotiations said that the Romao plant is the only US operation targeted for the closure of Ford.
"Everyone will be offered a job at Van Dyke Transmission," where Ford plans to add more work. "Equipment and people will move 23 miles away."
Anyone or anything that does not go to the nearby facility will be offered jobs at another Ford plant in the United States. The advantage for Ford is the excess capacity for power plants.
Sources say this latest development is included in the early summary of the agreement issued by UAW, which will be the focus of the union leadership review on Friday: "The pattern negotiation strategy has been a very effective approach for UAW and its members to secure financial gains around wages, benefits and secured over $ 6 billion in major product investments in US facilities, and created and maintained over 8,500 jobs for our communities. "
More: UAW- GM deal demands raise, $ 11K ratification bonus, Lordstown closure, way for temps
A Romeo factory worker asked angrily why Ford is willing to continue operating at the Ford Chihuahua Engine Factory in Mexico when a plant now is scheduled for closure in America.
Felker declined to comment.
The dealer told Free Press: "We have 200 people who could probably pull I am here, especially in the industries. They are older. I think, for some, they are ready to retire. If given the opportunity, they make the decision to move faster. If they were to wait another four years, they would gladly go in two. "
Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at 3 13-222-6512 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid  Read more about Ford and sign up for our car newsletter Jamie LaReau contributed to this report
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