MINNESOTA - On Thursday, Dec. 1, media, government officials and Ford representatives were invited to join retirees for a final look at the Twin Cities Assembly Plant as well as reflect on the plant's rich history in advance of its closure later this month.
Primarily aimed at honoring retirees, the event also served to recognize the hard work of all Twin Cities employees, their dedication to the plant and, more importantly, the community.
Mayor Chris Coleman, Ford Director of Manufacturing for Assembly Operations Jeff Wood and UAW representatives were on hand to speak about the heritage of the Twin Cities Assembly Plant, its people and impact on the region.
“I’d like to acknowledge the work of both those who work here now and those in the past. We thank each of you and your families for giving us all you could to make us what we are today. You’re to be commended for never giving up and maintaining the pride, maintaining the quality and maintaining the culture of the Twin Cities operation,” said Wood.
That feeling continued as UAW National Ford Department Servicing Representative Greg Poet reinforced that without the retirees and alumni of the Twin Cities plant, it would never have thrived in the way it has through its 99 years of operation.
Noted Coleman, “What has been proven out over the decades was that the greatest asset that this plant had going for it was not the river on which it was built, was not the transportation network, it was the men and women that dedicated their lives to this facility.”
Alvarado reinforced that sentiment.
“If I had to define a Twin Cities Assembly Plant employee it would read like this: A person that has a great attitude, outstanding work ethics, dedication and a strong quality commitment to the plant, the Ranger product, the company, our customers and the community,” said Alvarado. She also noted that as an extension of the community, the plant will leave its mark.
As an example of this, UAW Bargainer Art Wiegele took the podium to present the Hastings Veteran’s Home in St. Paul with a check for $900, which brought the donation to the organization to $20,000 on behalf of the St. Paul Local 879 Veteran’s Committee. The gift, however, was not complete, as Wiegele, along with Local 879 Chairman Thomas Everson, surprised the Hastings Veteran’s Home with yet another gift: a Transit Connect, which will be ordered to use at the home.
The Twin Cities Assembly Plant has been in operation since 1912, and has built over 6 million Ranger trucks since 1985. The plant has received numerous awards for outstanding quality and was the first of the Ford Assembly plants to receive a Q1 award for outstanding Quality in 1990. The plant is slated to close at the end of December 2011.