ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP/WCCO) — Emotions ran high Friday at St. Paul’s Ford plant.
After 86 years of operation, the last automobile (a Ford Ranger pickup) rolled off the line at 8 a.m. But prior to pickups, the plant put out Model Ts and even tanks.
The plant’s closure will affect 750 workers who will either move to other plants or look for new jobs. Back in 2006, Ford offered employees buy outs and transfers, but not all employees wanted to move their families out of Minnesota.
The plant’s workers are proud of the work they’ve done, but union leaders are upset that their members are being treated this way.
“Ford has decided to close the door on us after being the best-selling small truck in America for years… and now we’re just being put to the curb,” said local union president Paul Shropa.
A spokesperson for Ford said the company is not currently commenting of the plant’s closing.
“It was very emotional,” said Tom McClure, a Ford employee for 23 years. “Seeing that last truck come down the line was emotional. It’s a part of your life you’re never going to get back again.”
What will happen to the plant, which is located on the 112 acres of prime real estate on the Mississippi River? St. Paul is working closely with Ford to redevelop the land and hopes to bring in jobs.
Mayor Coleman said, at this point, all options are on the table.
“I think a lot of us are disappointed that Ford didn’t do more and the state of Minnesota didn’t do more,” said McClure. “We had two senators come into work this week, Amy Klobuchar was there and Senator Al Franken. Where were they five years ago? You’re here now for the closing, but you weren’t here to try and keep us open.”
Has Ford stopped making Ranger pickups?
In the U.S., yes. Overseas, no. Ford has two assembly plants making Rangers in other countries, and plans for another. They’ll be built and sold there, but no longer in the America. Apparently, the tariff to import them to the U.S. would be too expensive for Ford.
Has the last Ranger made in St. Paul been purchased?
Yes. The pest control company Orkin bought the truck.