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Ford parking edict spreads across U.S.

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Ford parking edict spreads across U.S.

Workers rally behind effort as Dearborn ban catches on

Bryce G. Hoffman / The Detroit News

-- Ford Motor Co. is drawing a line in the asphalt.

After the company's Dearborn Truck plant exiled non-Ford vehicles to the far side of the parking lot, similar restrictions are being enforced at Ford factories around the country.

Chevrolets, Toyotas and anything else not built by Ford or one of its subsidiaries are no longer welcome in the prime parking areas at Batavia Transmission LLC in Ohio, Woodhaven Stamping or at any of the factories in Ford's Rouge complex. Similar policies are being considered at the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake and the Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky.

"The majority of our plants now have such parking policies," said Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari, adding that many of these rules had been on the books at plants but were ignored.

"What Dearborn Truck has done has reignited the enforcement of those policies," Gattari said.

While the parking rules may not make a major impact on Ford's flagging sales, they show workers are rallying behind the automaker's effort to stop its market share slide and stanch North American losses.

Ford says plant management and union leadership have worked together on the parking restrictions.

Rob Webber, the manager of the Dearborn Truck plant, announced the new parking rules Jan. 23. Word of the rules spread to other plans through local and national news reports.

The day after learning about Dearborn Truck, security at Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri began enforcing an existing ban on non-Ford vehicles in its prime parking areas. According to UAW Local 249, which represents workers at the plant, the company will place a sticker on any car or truck parked in those areas reserved for only Ford vehicles and record the license plate number. If those workers park in the Ford areas a second time, their vehicles will be towed.

"Ford is serious," said Jim Stoufer, the local's president. "We support buying Ford products. It's our livelihood. It's going to be a fight for survival."

However, he said the union would like to see the ban applied to all foreign-made vehicles, including foreign brands owned by Ford such as Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. Since Ford owns controlling interest in Japan's Mazda Motor Co., its vehicles also are exempt at most facilities.

"The union's stance is union-made, American-made," Stoufer said, noting that only American-made cars and trucks can park at the union hall. "We don't want to tell our members they can't buy another vehicle that's made by the UAW."

Similar rules are under consideration at other Ford plants, including the Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne and the Louisville Assembly Plant.

Gattari stressed that there still is no official, corporatewide policy dictating where non-Ford vehicles should be parked. "It's truly a grassroots initiative," she said.

Parking restrictions at Dearborn Truck also have spread to the rest of Ford's famed Rouge complex, where his factory is located. He is happy to see the campaign to get Ford employees to buy what they build grow, adding that most of the workers at the Rouge are enthusiastic about it.

"Ford employees are definitely fighting back," Webber said.

But not everyone at the Rouge is applauding the new restrictions. Rex Nagy, a veteran skilled trade worker at Dearborn Truck, says he has taken to driving his son's Ford F-150 pickup to work because the rules require him to park his Chrysler in the back of the lot.

Nagy said he bought a Chrysler because he got a better deal through a relative who works for DaimlerChrysler AG, adding that Ford should not tell him how to spend his money.

"It's kind of hard to swallow," he said.

Another Rouge worker said she thought the restrictions should only apply to imports. "We need to support all our union brothers," said the worker, who would only give her first name, Lisa. She pointed out that many Ford workers in Michigan have spouses who work for other automakers. She added that many of Ford's products, such as new Fusion sedan, are manufactured in Mexico.

The parking rules at most Ford factories require non-Ford vehicles to be parked in restricted areas, either in separate lots or in less desirable areas of their main lots.

The rules are nothing new to workers at Ford's Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights.

"We put it into affect a few months ago," said Frank Turoski, president of UAW Local 2280, which represents workers at the plant. "People were complaining. They wanted it."

Turoski said the parking restrictions were negotiated as part of the last local operating contract, but were not enforced until last year.

"It's not a real big deterrent," Turoski said, noting that workers who drive non-Ford vehicles only have to walk a few hundred feet more than those who drive Ford products. But it does send a message, one he heartily endorses.

"Where you work," he said, "you should buy the product."

Link: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic.../602160387/1148


Well, if this parking ban wasn't Ford policy before (which they said it wasn't), it certainly seems to be now (at the very least, unofficially).

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It makes perfect sense to me. If you work for a company, you'd better use that company's products. Especially if one is able to purchase a new vehicle from another manufacturer, then that same person sure is able to buy from his/her employer. Serves them right.

This is very similar to what Chrysler did a little while ago isn't it?

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