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Ford to bring 1,100 jobs to Chicago, mayor says

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday that the Ford Motor Company plans to bring 1,100 to Chicago in the spring.

The company will also invest nearly $200 million in capital in Chicago, according to Emanuel.

On Tuesday, Ford announced the Chicago plans as part of its new contract deal with the United Auto Workers Union, which includes 5,750 jobs and $4.8 billion in its factories nationwide.

Mayor Emanuel says it's a victory for Ford as well as the residents of Chicago. For Emanuel, the jobs and money are the culmination of hard work that began last winter.

"I've been talking to the CEO of Ford for the last eight months," Emanuel said.

The company's business is booming worldwide, and it's been no secret Ford needed more production capacity.

Emanuel says getting the automaker to double down on its Torrence Avenue plant has been a focus for his administration.

"I made this the number one priority of our first economic council meeting when I first got sworn in and led a team with every commissioner at one table and went through the punch list," he said.

Ford and the United Auto Workers leadership reached a tentative agreement Tuesday morning on a new contract that calls for the company to increase its workforce by 12,000 workers. The agreement must still be ratified by the union's membership.

"These have been demanding negotiations but we are really, really pleased," said John Fleming, Ford Motor Company.

On Tuesday morning, the mayor joined IBM executive Stanley Litow to announce the technology company's initial grant worth $400,000 to help get students at five high schools associates degrees in computer sciences.

"This is a guarantee that kids are gonna complete their degree which is the ticket to the jobs of the 21st century," said Litow.

Only the mayor and a few others in Detroit realized a bigger story nationally and in Chicago would be rooted in jobs more identified with the 20th century as well as a $200 million dollar investment in Chicago by Ford.

"Because of the investment, we are getting additional jobs. And we are going three shifts and a lot of other suppliers will migrate," said Emanuel.

The mayor said beyond the new workers at Ford to be hired next spring, he expects hundreds more jobs shortly thereafter in those other businesses that set up to supply the plant. The plant will have three shifts working 24 hours a day.

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