More truck sales mean more work at St. Paul Ford plantby Annie Baxter, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Ford Ranger sales are up, and that will mean overtime for the roughly 760 workers at the Ranger plant in St. Paul this fall.
Sales of the Ranger pick-up truck grew 65 percent last month compared to July of last year, partly due to the popular cash for clunkers program.
Ronda Danielson, president of the United Auto Workers Local 879, said in September, workers will work 50-hour weeks, and that schedule could last a while.
"It's possibly going into the fall, even into December, with a couple Saturdays coming in there," Danielson said. "We're really excited."
The plant is slated to close in 2011.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman says he has been encouraging Ford to either maintain production of the Ranger truck or retool the plant to produce a new fuel-efficient vehicle.
Coleman said so far those discussions have not gone anywhere, but he feels more optimistic about the plant's future, given Ranger sales increases.
"Ford has not been particularly receptive to our attempts to have that discussion but we do think there might be an opportunity both because the Ranger sales are increasing significantly, and they're looking at a place to build a new product that's more in keeping with the green image they want to develop," Coleman said.
Coleman says if the plant does close, the city is prepared to redevelop the site as quickly as possible.