St. Paul Ford Plant Closes After 86 Years

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.

  • Sam I am

    Its a business decision no thing more. The truck isn’t selling. No sense building something that nobody is buying.

    To bad people are laid off but thats life and nobody said life was fair.

    • happy holidays

      Glad to know everything in your lives are perfect. The problem with this world is people like yourselves that have little to NO compassion for others. It’s really sad that an American made company is closing it’s doors and thousands of people and their families our now without an income, There already is too many people discovering that finding a good job with benefits is not easy. Ford employees WILL survive. How about trying to find a little Holiday spirit, step out of your HUGE shoes and take a long look in the mirror, life is NOT to be taken for granted, karma is something else. Happy holidays!

    • Time for action

      Sam you are wrong. That plant had the highest quality and production of the three ranger plants left. The other two are in Mexico and Canada. taht truck is selling, but American jobs are too expensive for Ford. Hate to see these jobs leave the state, but we do not need employers like Ford either.

      • Realist


        “The Ford Ranger will officially end production in North America on December 22, 2011 soon followed by the St. Paul, Minnesota plant where the Rangers are built. Ford has yet to comment on the Ranger’s fate, but it is unlikely that production of the small truck would be shifted to another facility. The current Ranger has been around in more or less the same form since the 1983 model year and it has been only occasionally face lifted and updated during its 28-year production run; the last major refresh occurred in 1998, when the Ranger was built on a completely new frame, new front suspension, cosmetic changes to the front of the vehicle, and revised engines (2.5L). The Ranger has only been mildly changed cosmetically inside and out in the years since. Ford did recently debut its latest global Ranger pickup (See below) — long since (1998) a very different vehicle than was sold in the United States. The global version of the Ford Ranger is a possibility for the United States, but is unlikely as it is too close in size and price to the F150.”

    • doug w

      how very thoughtful and touching. thanks. i just walked away from a place i’ve spent most of my life at for the last 5 years. it’s not about the product, it’s about the people.

      • Citizen

        I disagree. Most companies exists to make a profit, not to employ people. If you want to stay employed tomorrow, make sure you’re the reason the company made a profit today.

        • Citizen

          I would greatly appreciate it if you would cease commenting under my handle of “Citizen.” You do not reflect my philosophy at all, and are probably confusing the people who know how I comment. If a company REALLY wants to make a lot of profit, it goes to Mexico and South America–just like Ford is. Cheap labor, cheap product. How low do Americans’ wages need to go to satisfy corporations which now have records profits? Hmmmm? “If you want to say employed tomorrow, make sure you’re the reason the company made a profit today.” Pretty obvious you are a corporate honcho with an agenda.

          • Citizen

            No one died and made you the owner of Citizen. If you don’t like it, get out of bed earlier.

            • Citizen

              I manage to get out of bed at 5 a.m. which is one h#ll of a lot earlier than you conservatives. I’ve been posting as Citizen for a year. This is the first day I’ve seen you post unless you had another nom de plume previous to this. No, I don’t own “Citizen” but you might not like the responses you get to it!

  • Dave's not here

    Maybe we could give Ford $400 million to open a new factory here?

  • Megan Stuart

    Its’ a sad day for St. Paul… when I hear the words “HighLand Park” the first thing that comes to mind is the Ford Plant. Whether it;s a “BUsiness Decision” or Not, Ford should have kept the plant open and built something else there. I know one thing Bill (William) Ford can NOT run Ford at all.. Instead of dollar signs in his eyes it should be about the people. That’s the way Henery Ford was.. It was about the people.. My heart goes out to all the workers and to my friends who still work there. I miss working there everyday, the people who work there are hard working, dedicated workers..

    • @Megan

      Yeah, ’cause spending over a billion dollars to retool and retrofit the old plant to produce a new model makes economic sense. It is very unfortunate that the plant had to close, but at least it had a hell of a run.

    • Jeff

      “I know one thing Bill (William) Ford can NOT run Ford at all” ==== Ummm, he doesn’t. And sure am glad that YOU don’t run it either since you haven’t a clue.

  • Time for action

    Time for the attorney General to step in. They have been working people out of their pay grade as well as making job offers well below pay grade with relocation and then trying to refuse severence becuase the employee did not accept the relocation for less offer. Hate to see all those jobs leave the state, but we are better off without employers like ford in this state.

    • Realist

      What do you expect the Attorney General to do? Do you understand what powers the AG does and does not have?

      “This gum is $1.50?!? I better call the Attorney General!”
      “My trash was picked up after 6pm. I better call the Attorney General!”

      • Time for action

        Hey realist, you obviously do not know a lot about their contract, but they have to be offered a similar job or get the severence. Ford is trying to dump the employees into unemployment versus paying them what the contract stipulates. Their contract also states they can only be worked out of pay scale for a limitted purpose project, or they have to be cmopensated at the higher pay rate. I could give a rats ass about your gum or trash, but taking advantage of people and abusing them is not right, no matter what country or political ilk you are.

  • Hank Hill

    Don’t judge a person unless you have walked a mile in their shoes and when you do you will be a mile away and you will have their shoes.

  • Journeyone

    Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.
    Henry Ford

  • Andy

    Does anyone see vikings stadium here!!!!

    • Mad Dog

      A better place would be LA.

    • Hank Hill

      Hey, why not!

    • Time for action

      Great idea, with the power plant and view of the river, WOW what a great idea. And finally Our State capital will get something versus everything gonig to Murderapolis. Although, the wild are a great addition to St. Paul.

      • Jon Lindquist

        actually, this is a really BAD spot for the vikings, as the roads and infrastructure just are not set up for the heavy traffic load a game would bring in. Also, your headlines are out of date and not everything goes to minneapolis. Don’t forget that very few, if any, state offices are even located in minneapolis and there isn’t an airport next to its urban core. Also, keep in mind that MCC, while nice looking to the public, is a money pit that rarely is not somewhere in the red.

        Also, the state fair is in saint paul, there is a minor league team in STP, and there is a zoo.

  • Reggie

    Ford was lucky. They were able to limit the damage the unions did to just one plant.

    The government unions are creating far greater havoc.

    • alan

      Data, please, to back up this stupid statement?

  • Ford’s St. Paul Plant Closes « CBS Minnesota

    […] the last Ranger has been purchased by Orkin, the pest control company. [WCCO: Business] var videoCanvas = new WNVideoWidget("WNVideoCanvas", […]

  • stubby

    What everyone here doesn’t understand is this isn’t a Ford dicsion, it’s a shareholder dicision. Shareholders demand a comapany, any company, which is publicly held, make a profit. Greedy shareholders are more to blame than anyone. Wonder how many or these same workers have Ford stock?. How many of your neighbors? Blame the CEO if you want, but you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  • CheeseNcrackers

    Good 800 more people to sit on unemployment for 2 years, crying and whining how theres no work, because they’re are used to being overpaid with union wages, and will not work for a dime less, let the pity party begin.

    • Crazy Joe

      I did enjoy union benefits in the day but now I am working non union and my standard of living is great in my opinion, if I really want to buy something I usually can.

  • doug w

    Ah well… I find it rather pointless to argue what went wrong now that our plant is closed, but I’ll tell you I’m grateful to the Union bargainers and to Ford for coming together to offer me a transfer.

  • rocky

    these workers were way over paid, thanks to the unions, and the union is the reason the plant is closing, it’s simple look at there contract, if ya can, (they keep it in secret) the unions are causing this ship all over….to hel with the unions!!!!!

    • Not that confused!

      Good comment. What if I told you that I knew of someone who had a relative that worked there and all he did was walk up and down the assembly line with a magnet on wheels collecting the small metal parts on the floor. Guess how much he made?????? Get this: $45 per hour. No bull.

  • alan

    It’s nice that that one guy got a job after looking for 9 months, but it can hardly be a surprise that he was let go 6 months later considering how long this plant was planned to close. I hope he did not stop looking for the next job even after he started at Ford.

  • BlaBlaBla

    Why not the news says “St. Paul Ford Plant Moves to 3rd world county after 86 Years”? Because they have reason to move cheap labor, buyers are also other countries.

  • Journeyone

    I wonder why the common person NEVER says management is over paid? Yes lets get rid of the unions, but before you do, go to a southern state and see what the average wage earner makes. See what benefits they get. Remember your pay you get in northern states is competive with union wages. So you can thank a union employee for your wage. But you are right lets do the GOP plan, make $8 an hour, $4 for gas and $3 for taxes and no whining.

  • Hmm

    Quite amazing some of you think the Ranger will be built in mexico, they are done producing this truck all together, that is why they have no use for this facility.

  • John RedCorn

    Jobs come Jobs go. Swear that I have been hearing about this plant closing now for 7 years or so. It is not like people did not see this coming. To the people who lost your jobs sorry to hear that but it is life. Many companies have closed there doors when I have worked for them but it never made the news. I had to move on and get another job and deal with it. I am also so sick of it’s the holidays WHO CARES. So were suppose to care more about people losing their jobs this time of year so they can buy Johnny a few gifts to make him feel important. What about people who’s companies go under in April or August should we not feel just as bad for them.

  • Ace

    I hope they do something about the pollution. For years diesel fumes have been coming up out of the sewers. Every day when I walk my dog I smell those fumes.

  • Thank the Unions

    Once again the Unions are doing for St Paul what they did for Detroit! They sold out the workers there and did the same thing here!

  • Annette

    Isn’t this what the Vikings stadium supporters are saying? Build a stadium and create new jobs. How many people want to sell beer and programs and tickets for a few games. What we really need is more good manufacturing jobs with good pay and benefits that people can really live on! I am sorry to see the ford plant go.

  • Cost of Living

    Maybe if the cost of living here in the united states wasn’t so high, we could afford to work for the same low pay they do in 3rd world countries. It’s because everything costs so much, Rent in event the slummiest apartment included…that we have to make such a high wage..give me a decent 1 bedroom apartment in a neighborhood that doesn’t have someone getting robbed or shot every 5 minutes…where people actually care about their surrounding for about 500 per month, and then we can consider lowering wages here. But to get anything decent your talking 800-1000 per month, and even that’s not always in the safest area.

    Yep I am pretty sure most americans would work for less, if the cost of living where less…if that meant we could keep our jobs on shore, rather than letting them go offshore.

    Also, if every high paying CEO gave up 1 million of their salary to higher more employee’s at 35,000 per year…that’s a lot of employees hired..and the CEO still makes millions of dollars per year…

    • me

      hire not higher…good lord I typed to fast

  • bike path

    I wanted to buy a new vehicle, but my employer just didn’t want to give me a raise, but they wanted to lay me off instead. since 2003 I always wanted to buy a new vehicle. The number just kept increase among those I met. 2001: me for one; 2003 two coworkers and I for three of us; 2004 one neighbor + four co-workers I worked with + me is six; 2005: Two releatives, one neighbor, five co-workers I worked with at several places and me is nine; 2007: Two relative + two neighbors + five co-workers I worked with during the past years + two friend at the lake + me is ten; 2008: Three relatives + five neighbors + same five co-workers from the past years + five friends at the lake + me is NINETEEN; 2011(to date): Same three relatives + four neighbors + seven co-workers + eight friends I met at the lake + at least five more friends I met during the last two months of this year (2011) + me is at least twenty-nine 29 or more people I know of. Doesn’t necessarily mean they all would be fords.

  • unemployed

    Welcome about at least 750 more unemployed people out looking for more jobs with the rest of us unemployed people. More unemployed people competing with other unemployed people while applying for jobs due to corporate greed.

  • The Angry Walrus

    It is a sad day for a lot of people. The plant was a fixture in St.Paul. Ford employed many people and it is sad that many people are out of work.

    For the most part, the comments on here are so slanted left or right that it is sickening. It’s either focused on corporate greed, or anti union, or blah blah blah.

    Let’s just have some compassion for the folks who lost their jobs today without turning this into a political battleground for once.

    To everyone who was effected, I wish you well in your future endeavors and hope that you find work again soon.

    • alan

      Bravo. And “affected”

      • The Angry Walrus

        oops….that was the third attempt at that post. typed it that time pretty quickly and didn’t really proof read.

        • alan

          Proofread. Ok, now I’m just seriously messing with you. :^)

          Happy Holidays

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