The Hazelwood Ford Plant will stay open, but half of the people working there today won’t be working there next year. Ford says it’s going to eliminate one of the two shifts at the plant. Ford says demand is down for the SUVs it builds at Hazelwood. Ford does say it will invest $100 million to upgrade the plant. The decision comes after Governor Holden unveiled a $9 million incentive package to keep the Hazelwood factory opened at least through 2007. Ford had planned to close it. Successful negotiations between the United Auto Workers and Ford led to the breakthrough to keep Hazelwood open. Holden said the state’s incentive package, $5 million in job training assistance and $4 million of other tax credits, was negotiated over a two day period in St. Louis after the labor talks were concluded. The city of Hazelwood and St. Louis County will also provide tax abatements to help finance upgrades at the plant. Approximately 2,600 people are currently employed at the Hazelwood factory. Holden made the announcement during a news conference in Hazelwood. He was joined by Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder and House Speaker Catherine Hanaway. Holden also announced that he would soon appoint a Missouri Automotive Partnership with the goal of retaining the five assembly plants, dozens of auto suppliers and thousands of autoworkers in Missouri.
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