Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

Congresswoman McCollum: Highland Park Ford Plant Closing Marks End of A Proud Era

December 16, 2011
Press Release

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2011
Contact: Maria Reppas, (202) 225-6631 / (202) 527-0149

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04) issued the following statement on the Highland Park Ford Plant closing.

"Today, I recognize the generations of families who have earned their livelihoods at the Highland Park Ford Plant on a job very well done. Since this plant first opened in 1924 rolling out Model Ts to today's Ranger, "quality is job one" has been not only the motto, but the ethic as workers have consistently earned top honors for productivity and quality.

"The Highland Park Plant has always been unique. Based on Henry Ford's self-sustainability model, vehicles were produced almost from scratch. Sand for windshield glass was dug from mines below the plant and power was supplied by hydroelectricity from a neighboring dam on the Mississippi River – long before "green power" sources became popular.

"During recent decades, workers' voices have been valued and appreciated by plant managers, demonstrating a successful model for labor-management relations. United Auto Workers Local 879, which has represented most employees, worked hard to share product ideas and negotiate contracts that ensured fair wages and benefits.

"The last Ranger rolling off the assembly line marks the end of a proud 86-year era for the City of St. Paul and the state of Minnesota. Frequently, working at the Highland Park Plant has been a family affair, as multiple generations of families passed through its doors. This plant has helped build the middle class in our state, and workers more than returned the favor by winning numerous awards and building the highest-quality vehicles on the road.

"This success was built on partnerships and would not have been complete without the unique relationship forged between the state, the United Auto Workers and the Ford Motor Company to create the innovative UAW-Ford-MnSCU Training Center, ensuring that workers were trained in the highest-tech skills. As city and state leaders consider the reuse of the plant, the important role of this model training center should not be forgotten. As our economy continues to recover, our state and our nation must be united in maintaining our highly-skilled workforce necessary to compete globally."

Congresswoman Betty McCollum serves on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees.