Ford Plant Erupts in Cheers as Explorer Move Announced

"We have a future," Daley says

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Chicago is juiced about Ford Motorsplan to bring 1,200 jobs to the city at the assembly plant on Torrence Avenue.

    "My heart is racing,” said Debra Green, a Ford employee for 10 years. “I’m really happy to have a job. I can't believe we're going to two shifts"

    Quinn: "You're The Heart and Soul of Illinois"

    [CHI] Quinn: "You're The Heart and Soul of Illinois"
    Speaking at Chicago's Ford plant, Daley and Quinn call Ford's new jobs a victory for the city.

    Green isn't alone. Workers at the South Side plant erupted in cheers when Governor Pat Quinn introduced the plan that will move production of the Ford Explorer from Louisville, Kentucky, to Chicago.

    “This is Ford Country,” the governor said to a roaring crowd.

    Quinn: "You're The Heart and Soul of Illinois"

    [CHI] Quinn: "You're The Heart and Soul of Illinois"
    Speaking at Chicago's Ford plant, Daley and Quinn call Ford's new jobs a victory for the city.

    Quinn helped grease the deal by passing recent tax credits.

    Workers gave Mayor Richard Daley a standing ovation when he told them: "We have a future.”

    And they couldn’t hide their elation at the news that a second shift was being added to the manufacturing plant.

    Dave Wurster, who’s worked at Ford for 16 years, said it makes him feel like he made the right decision to stay with the company through troubled times.

    "I'm glad didn't take a buyout like a lot of people,” Wurster said. "It’s nice to be working steady.”

    Another employee, John Orlando, said it restores the company as a good place to work.

    "I'd be happy for my kids to work here now and do like I did," he said. “Everyone wants to come back to Ford."

    The move also helps out the company's Chicago Heights parts-stamping plant, which employs about 750 workers and will stamp all the new Explorer parts, Crain's reports

    The news isn’t all good, however, the Sun-Times notes

    Under the terms of the deal that Ford reached with the United Auto Workers union in 2007, they’re bringing in the 1,200 new employees at about half the regular wage.

    Still, Bob King, the president elect of the UAW, celebrated the move that will add jobs to a plant that first opened in 1924 as an alternative production site for Ford's Model T.

    "I don't wake up a day that I don't think about the financial sacrifices our members have made," King said.

    Full Coverage:  Chicago Auto Show 2010