Ford lays off 243 at Chicago Heights facility after UAW strike


Ford has laid off 243 workers at its stamping facility in Chicago Heights in the wake of the strike at the nearby Chicago Assembly Plant.

A total of 330 layoffs were announced Monday between the Chicago Stamping Plant and the Lima Engine Plant in Ohio. Both facilities supply parts to Ford’s idled assembly plant on the city’s Southeast Side, where thousands of employees walked off the job Friday in the United Auto Workers’ expanding strike against the Big Three automakers.

“These layoffs are a consequence of the strike at Chicago Assembly Plant, because these two facilities must reduce production of parts that would normally be shipped to Chicago Assembly Plant,” Ford spokesperson Ian Thibodeau said Monday.

The layoffs for the 243 workers at the Chicago Stamping Plant took effect Saturday, while the 87 workers at the Ohio facility were laid off Monday, Thibodeau said.

Ford employs about 1,000 hourly workers at the Chicago Stamping Plant. The workers, who are members of UAW Local 588, were not called to strike by the union.

A UAW spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.

The strike hit home in a big way Friday when about 4,600 members of UAW Local 551 put down their tools and walked off the job at the Chicago Assembly Plant, which makes the Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator and Police Interceptor SUVs. The Explorer, which is built exclusively in Chicago, is among Ford’s best-selling vehicles.

Members of the United Auto Worker Union walk out of the Chicago Ford Assembly Plant and across a pedestrian bridge to a parking lot Sept. 29, 2023.

In 2019, Ford spent $1 billion to transform the nearly century-old Torrence Avenue facility, which phased out production of the Taurus sedan to focus on building SUVs. It spent about $200 million upgrading the south suburban stamping plant to supply parts for the new models at Chicago Assembly Plant.

The UAW represents 146,000 members across the U.S. On Sept. 15, the UAW directed about 13,000 workers to walk off the job and onto the picket line at a GM plant in Missouri, a Stellantis plant in Ohio and a Ford factory in Michigan, calling for a strike against all three manufacturers for the first time in the Detroit-based union’s 88-year history.

In response, Ford laid off 600 non-striking workers at its Michigan Assembly Plant beginning Sept. 15. With Monday’s announcement, the automaker has now laid off 930 employees because of the “knock-on effects for facilities that are not directly targeted for a work stoppage,” Ford said Monday.

The UAW has expanded the strike twice since it began. On Sept. 22, the union gave marching orders to 5,600 parts and distribution workers at 38 locations across 20 states to walk off the job, including 92 workers at a GM parts distribution center in Bolingbrook and a Stellantis facility with 95 employees in Naperville.

With the addition of nearly 7,000 workers Friday, the strike against the Big Three automakers includes more than 25,000 UAW members at 43 facilities in 21 states.

The union is seeking pay increases, shorter workweeks and improvements to retiree pensions and health care plans amid record profits for the Big Three automakers, among other demands.


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