Ford Workers To Rally In Washington
By Mark Caruso

SALINE -- The United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Company are sending a convoy of Ford Explorers to Washington on Tuesday, June 19th, as a strong show of support for the automaker and its very popular sport-utility vehicle.

The union is organizing hundreds of rank-and-file members from Ford and Visteon plants to Capitol Hill as Congress heads for a second round of hearings into the Ford-Firestone tire controversy.

Ford is delighted to assist the UAW’s effort in supporting the trucks they manufacture. This is another example of the pride UAW members have in the products they build.

The fate of the Explorer is as crucial to the UAW as it is to Ford  Motor Company. The company’s plants in Louisville and St. Louis, that produce the Explorer, employ about 5,500 UAW members. The union clearly sees the attacks on the Explorer as a potential threat to its members’ jobs.

About 60 workers who build instrument panels for Explorers at Visteon factory in Saline, Michigan plan to leave Sunday on the 820-mile journey to Washington.

“Everyone will be driving an Explorer because they believe in them. We are happy to send workers to Washington and still maintain customer satisfaction and quality at our final assembly plants. I think we will have a real good turnout. We have to keep the plant running so we can't have everybody go, but all the locals across the country are probably going to be participating,” commented Tom Kanitz, Plant Chairman of UAW Local 892 in Saline, Michigan.

Tuesday’s event is likely to be the unions’ largest demonstration of support in recent years.
The move shows how serious the unions’ leadership views the legal battles and other problems facing Ford. The automaker and its crown jewel, the Explorer, have been labeled with bad publicity sparked by the tire fiasco.