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Ford Ranger Plant Ready to Close

Last compact pickup rolls off the line this week.

by on Dec.13, 2011

Production of the long-lived Ford Ranger is finally coming to an end.

The auto industry is back and providing one of the few sources of new jobs in an otherwise struggling U.S. economy.  Or so one might believe in most parts of the country.  Just don’t try to convince the workers at Ford’s Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

The maker hasn’t set a specific time yet but sometime around Friday it is expected that the last Ford Ranger will roll down the assembly line and the 86-year-old plant, located just outside Minneapolis, will finally shut down.

Though Ford has added thousands of jobs since the depths of the recession and promised to add thousands more as part of its new contract with the United Auto Workers Union about 800 union workers will be idled by the Twin Cities shutdown unless they can find a way to transfer to some other plant in the Ford network.

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The creaky old factory has actually lasted far longer than most of its workers had anticipated.  A report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that rumors of the factories demise were already circulating by 1949, shortly after the plant was converted back from war production.

“It looks like (they were) right, but it took Ford quite a while to finally get around to it,” the paper quoted 80-year old former autoworker Del Peterson.