A deal reached between the and Faurecia this week will preserve jobs in Saline, but it will also send jobs elsewhere in Michigan, according to local union leadership.
According to UAW Local 892 President Mark Caruso, the union reached a tentative labor agreement with Faurecia SA. The French auto parts giant signed a memorandum of understanding to buy the plant from Ford Motor Company in August of 2011. The plant produces interior components for Ford vehicles.
According to Caruso, Faurecia will operate the Saline facility, using just 25 percent of 1.6-million square-foot facility to continue molding operations. Most of the assembly work and more than 600 jobs will be transferred to Detroit Manufacturing Systems, LLC. Caruso said the UAW is also working to help “dark blue,” higher-paid ACH employees transfer to other Ford facilities. Caruso said there were about 400 remaining “dark blue” employees at ACH. "Dark Blue" employees are paid in line with veteran Ford workers. "Light Blue" workers make considerably less.
The transition is expected to take four years, said Caruso.
“I am not crazy about what's going on. This deal doesn’t give us everything we want. But we are saving union jobs,” Caruso said."If we didn't negotiate this contract, these jobs would go to non-union shops. We've secured jobs here in Saline."
No Further Comment from Faurecia
A Faurecia spokesperson said the company had nothing to add to a
"Faurecia is exploring the acquisition of the Saline, Michigan, interior components plant operated by Automotive Components Holdings, LLC," said Stacie Tong, director of communications for Faurecia North America, last week. "Faurecia is in negotiations with a number of parties, including Ford and the UAW, regarding the future of the Saline plant and will issue further statements if and when the status of these negotiations changes."
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded a $4.1 million tax credit to Detroit Manufacturing Systems which, according to MEDC minutes from Dec. 13, 2011, proposes to establish a vehicle component manufacturing facility in the City of Detroit. The company is planning to ramp-up production in 2012-2013, according to the minutes. The project will also be supported by a 15-year tax break from the City of Detroit.
Caruso said the UAW would continue to represent workers in Saline and at the Detroit Manufacturing Systems facility.
UAW Local 892 May Move From Saline
Caruso also revealed that he expected the UAW Local 892 would likely move its offices out of Saline to a central location in an effort to save money. Caruso said the UAW was preparing a ratification vote for the new contracts.
The ACH plant employs 2,300 people, most of whom belong to the UAW. Employment at the Saline plant has been on the rise since 2009-10, when other operations were consolidated into the Saline plant. In 2009-10, there were 2,000 employees at the operation.
Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell said she was disappointed to hear that jobs might be leaving Saline. But, she said, it was good to see that Faurecia planned to maintain some operations in Saline. A few years ago, Driskell was worried the plant may be closed. She said she hoped to speak with Faurecia officials about the future of the plant.
In 2011, City Finance Director Lee Bourgoin calculated the plant is responsible for 11 percent of the city’s tax revenue—about the amount of money the city spends on its . That share of the city’s tax revenue is up from 8.5 percent as residential home values dipped.