BROOK PARK, Ohio – On Thursday, Ford is expected to announce the addition of more than 400 jobs at its plant on Engle Road.
Adding jobs at the engine plant seemed almost impossible almost six years ago, according to UAW Local 1250 President Mike Gammella.
“There was a time, in the 2007 agreement, the casting plant was announced to close, plant two was announced to close, plant one had a mere 66 people in it,” Gammella said.
Gammella has seen the darkest days at the plant that once employed thousands, but currently has closer to 1,100 active union workers.
After Thursday, that number will get bigger as Ford announces the addition of more than 400 jobs that are being shifted from Spain to Cleveland.
“For every auto job you have, you probably have five or six other jobs as well, with the ripple effect. From the butcher to the baker to the candlestick maker, when Ford’s going good, everybody’s going good,” said Gammella.
The union has been working with the company to bring the work back to Northeast Ohio.
Right now, the plant manufactures two different engines, but the work from Spain will introduce a smaller “eco-boost” engine to the line, according to Gammella.
“Because of the plan, because of a buyout that I took, I’m not eligible to go back to Ford Motor Company but if they said, ‘come on back,’ I’d come back in a heartbeat,” said Linda Newman, a Ford retiree who wants to see Brook Park thrive again.
Cindy Zanzano is skeptical the jobs will make a difference.
“I’ll believe it when I see it, and when the people come and they can literally come over here and get lunch or go to any other establishment around here for lunch, that’s when I’ll believe it,” she said.
According to the union, some of the jobs will go to people who transfer to Northeast Ohio while others will be hired or available as people retire.
“Whenever you can add more jobs in this economy, it’s a great thing,” said Gammella.
A spokesperson for Ford had no comment prior to Thursday’s announcement, except to say the company is anxious to talk about their commitment to American manufacturing.