February 5, 1997 in Nation/World

Auto Strike Hits Home Labor Unrest May Delay Delivery Of Ford Vehicles

Kelly L. Anderson Associated Press

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday that customers wanting the hot-selling Expedition and the Econoline van may have to wait longer for delivery because of a strike at a company that makes seats.

“In terms of orders to customers, we are not able to ship them out right away,” Ford spokeswoman Francine Romine-MacBride said. “They may experience a slight delay, but we’re hoping that may be resolved soon.”

About 500 employees of Johnson Controls Inc. went on strike Jan. 28 after negotiations over wages broke down. The workers are represented by the United Auto Workers.

About 300 of the striking employees work at a Plymouth plant west of Detroit that makes seats for the Expedition, and the others are at an Oberlin, Ohio, plant that produces Econoline seats.

Talks between management and the union have resumed, Johnson Controls spokesman Jeff Steiner said. But he declined to give details.

UAW spokesman Karl Mantyla didn’t return messages seeking comment.

Steiner said both plants are idle.

Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls had reportedly offered to increase workers’ wages from the current $9.50 to $10.50 an hour to $11 to $12 an hour.

The union reportedly was seeking $14 to $16 an hour.

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