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Posted on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Workers at former ACH plant in Saline facing tough choices, union frustrations

By Ben Freed


Danny Kelly said he will likely not sign on with Devon Alpha Services by Friday evening due to what he sees as unfair terms of employment.

Melanie Maxwell |

Danny Kelly is not sure whether he will have a job on Friday at 6 p.m.

Kelly is a single parent who took a job in 2007 at the former Ford Motor Company and Visteon interior components plant in Saline hoping for better healthcare coverage. He needed the coverage to take care of his nearly 9-year-old old son who has ongoing medical complications due a spider bite.

Kelly expected to be hired as a full-time Ford worker, but has been working at the plant for seven years as a ‘temporary’ hourly employee of Automotive Components Holdings.

Saline Plant Fast Facts:

  • Size: 1.6 million square feet
  • Primary products: instrument panels, door panels, consoles
  • Converted from Ford to a Visteon Plant in 2000
  • Transfered from Visteon to holding company ACH in 2005
  • Nearly sold to Johnson Coltrols in late 2007
  • Sold to Faurecia in June, 2012
  • Employees in November, 2007: approximately 1,150
  • Employees in August, 2011: approximately 2,300
  • Employees today: approximately 1,400

French automotive company Faurecia bought the plant, which manufactures instrument and door panels, in June from ACH, which Ford created to find buyers for the Visteon plants. As the ACH plants are sold, many of their employees have been hired by the new buyers or by Ford.

Kelly is scheduled to be hired by Ford and transferred to the company’s Flat Rock plant in spring 2013.

But an October 25 letter to the 444 ACH employees still active at the plant from manager Mike Bauder threw a wrench into Kelly’s plans when it announced that all ACH workers who had yet to be hired by Ford or Faurecia would be transferred to a new company known as Devon Alpha Services (DAS).


All ACH employees at the Saline plant received this letter on Thursday, Nov. 8.

A second letter arrived on Nov.8 demanding enrollment with DAS by Friday, Nov. 16. The letter had “BROUILLON” (“draft” in French) stamped across it and was accompanied by the Faurecia handbook and some terms of employment. Failure to comply would “result in your employment ending.”

While compensation and benefits at DAS would be similar under the new company, one line on page 4 of the employment packet caught Kelly’s eye. For him, it’s a deal-breaker.

“I agree that if I am hired, DAS may terminate my employment with or without cause, and with or without notice, at anytime,” the statement reads. Instructions at the bottom of the page council signers that “your signature indicates that you expressly agree with the above.”

For Kelly, and many at the 1,400-employee Saline plant, that language is enough to convince them that no job might be the better option.

“They’ve given us an ultimatum, either sign this or don’t have a job,” he said.

“To be honest, I’m still trying to figure it out. I’ve been online trying to find other opportunities and to be honest with you there aren’t many jobs out there. It’s close to the holidays and Christmas and I’m just trying to figure out what to do. I’m at a standstill. I don’t really know what’s a wise decision and what isn’t.”

Complicating matters for Kelly and his fellow plant employees is their assertion that the United Auto Workers union isn't giving them the advice they need.

“I talked with my international rep about the language on page 4 [about at-will firing], and he said he’d never seen it,” Kelly seen.

“It just doesn’t make any sense. To be honest with you, I am just really disappointed. I feel that my local union and my international union has let me down and failed me and my co-workers.”

A union announcement regarding the transfer of ACH employees to DHS promised that “your pay and benefits will not change” by choosing to sign on with the new company.

However, Debi Muncy, a Ford employee formerly at the Saline plant pointed out that at the bottom of the same page employees were promised that they would be given the opportunity to vote on a UAW-DAS collective bargaining agreement.

“No one has seen that agreement, and they’ve told us they haven’t even finished it yet,” she said.

“How can they promise nothing will change if they don’t have a contract?”

The current contract dispute is only the latest in a litany of allegations that some plant workers have leveled against the union, Ford, ACH, and Faurecia. Muncy said that recently a temporary staffing solutions agency named Belcan has been used to bring new hires to the plant, who are paid at a significantly lower rate than Ford, ACH, or Faurecia employees.

Muncy said The new Belcan employes are paid at a rate of $11 per hour while ACH workers make $16.50 per hour and the few Ford employees still working in the plant make upwards of $20 per hour. She added that she thinks the pay disparities are creating hostility in the workplace and that the new temporary hires are displacing some union workers.

“This is supposed to be a union shop…” she said.

“The UAW is aware of [what’s going on], the corporation is aware of it, and no one seems to have any problem with this.”


Language that Kelly and others found unacceptable can be found in the third paragraph on this page.

Numerous attempts by to contact both international and local union offices for comment over the past week have been unsuccessful. Faurecia was contacted early in the week but has declined thus far to issue a comment or statement on the employment status of workers at its plant.

Ford issued a statement that ACH attempted to preserve as many jobs as possible during the economic downturn, and that most employees at ACH plants received job options either from Ford or a new buyer.

“Nearly 20,000 U.S. employees at ACH plants got jobs with either the buyer or Ford - or they voluntarily chose a retirement or buyout package and were replaced. We believe this is a remarkable story, especially given the economic downturn during recent years,” the statement said.

All ACH employees in Saline were offered jobs with Faurecia when the French company bought the plant, but many turned down the offer hoping for jobs at Ford. Many plant workers felt that Faurecia’s rules and terms of hire were more advantageous to the employer and preferred to remain “preferential hires” at Ford plants.

For Kelly, receiving a full time job from Ford would only be the first step. He claims that despite the fact that he’s been building Ford parts for seven years that he would be treated as a new hire at the Flat Rock plant.

“They would make me wait 8 months until we get benefits again,” he said. “And then they will keep our benefits and wages frozen for another year.”

Kelly’s complaint, along with a host of others from former Saline workers currently at plants across Michigan and the Midwest are being taken before the National Labor Relations Board by Patricia Meyer, president of the Labor Advocate Workers Solution, Inc. a policy arm of union watchdog group Uniting All Workers.

Meyer and Muncy hosted a meeting at the Liberty School in Saline on Sunday, Nov. 11 where they encouraged workers to carefully read contracts that were put in front of them and to question their union representatives about what they perceived to be unfair terms. Nearly 100 workers attended the meeting, and many were vocal in their displeasure with both the motor companies and the union.

“We expect the car companies to try to pull one over on us, that’s what they do,” one plant employee who asked to remain anonymous said.

“But we don’t expect that from the union, they’re supposed to be sticking up for us. That’s what they’re there for.”

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Thu, Dec 6, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

If you do not sign the contract can you collect unemployment benefits until Ford calls you?


Sun, Nov 18, 2012 : 6:11 p.m.

Good afternoon everyone, I personally worked with DANNY KELLY since the year 2007, ( HE IS NOT LYING ) PPL Listen up, if you dont have any understandings on what our lives have been through with the ups and downs with (these) company, YOU WONT!!! We have been lied to for years PERIOD. We were hired under the 2003 Contract, which I still have my letter stating FORD MOTOR COMPANY letter head (2006) for employment, but hired Jan/2007. They told me that they only had opprotunties at certain plants which SALINE/VISTEON PLANY was one of them that I choose out of 3 options they allotted me to choose from. So with this being said I feel I was a FORD MOTOR COMPANY employee, but when I get to SALINE, things were a little different. I was hired under the 2003 National contract. Which was breeched in Nov 19, 2007, they told me in orientation that I would be temporary for 89, (no going to medical, no being late on the job, or not to call in for an emergency) OKAY understand all the rules. I believed after my 89 day I would gain FULL TIME EMPLOYMENT PERMENENTLY. They did a ratification on our contract which states now I must be a TEMPORARY employee for 1 year (ON PAGE 105 in our 2003 contract book), so three years later SALINE/VISTEON goes bankrupt in Aug 2010 and was forced to sign with ACH- AUTOMOTIVE COMPONENT HOLDING or receive a 5 day quit. WOW!!Alot of transfers have been made in and out of SALINe, but yet we are still not 1 tier, but 2 tier employees with the hopes of becoming FULL TIME 1 TIER WORKERS. SO TO MY FELLOW CO-WORKERS HOLD ON, AND FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS WE WERE UNFAIRLY TOOK ADVANTAGE OF AND SOMEONE MUST HEAR OUR STORY AND HELP US.. just keep believing VICTORY IS OURS.. its not over!


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 5:25 a.m.

You're not doing yourself or your union brothers and sisters any favors with your response that is filled with errors and caps lock. I'm not perfect in this area either, but your post only serves to further the perceptions of union workers. That of an under-education, over-paid workforce. The actual work you and your colleagues do is not hard labor and you are paid a good living wage. I'm not saying that gives the company the right to abuse you or violate your contract. As I've said early if the company has violated the contract then follow your contractual grievance procedure all the way through till you get your answer. You can also go through your Health and Safety representative (after finding a health / safety violation, which shouldn't be too hard to do) and this is a way to go on strike contractually. The Saline Plant was a Visteon facility when you hired in. You have never been a Ford employee. Please prove otherwise, with something more than your feelings. Were you offered "Flowback"? No one and I mean no one forced you to sign on with ACH.

ACHsaline worker

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:57 p.m.

I pay dues to have someone there to have my back and instead they are with their backs to the situation then I really don't see the need for them to take the money out of my check! I have grown up in a Union household and have always respected what the union once stood for, but when you work for a company which has 4 different paying systems that range from 30$ 20$ 14$ and 11$ let's just say it doesn't sit we'll with people, everyone does the same jobs for a massive amount pay difference. The union once stood for every person equal but that went down the drain and now look, breaching of contracts has now became ok as well, the people that make 11$ an hr can not afford to buy the product that we are making and that was not what Mr. Ford was all about.. His family should be ashamed!!!

music to my ear

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

its just now that dan kelly has cause a stink, if he signs now he will be at will, and guess what you can bet they are going to air out that stink, by not signing.he has created a problem and you know.Dan sorry to say we are all replaceable, you are in a no win situation. maybe mazda in flatrock will pick you up, do you know anyone who works there, they can get you a friends and family referral. good luck..

ACHsaline worker

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

If Ford knew what has been going on in the plants that he had built, I think he would roll over in his grave!!!!

music to my ear

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

not really all they care about is the money comming in.

ACHsaline worker

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

What most fail to realize is that Danny Kelley is standing up for what is right, they have breached our contract over and over!!! If we made a contract for someone and breached it on them what do you think the courts would do and how about the people on the other end! We have no union. We pay does and they do NOTHING!!! They sit back in let it happen. Danny is a hardworking employee which is why he has been there as long as he has!! He is speaking up for all of us at the plant and we couldn't of made it this point without him, this is the first time we have had our story out and it's because of him.. So before you judge him you need to realize We all appreciate our jobs, just tired of the back stabs, LIES, breaching of contract and NO union to turn to although we are paying for that to!!

Unusual Suspect

Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

ACH, how about taking care of yourself and your own back? Do what the rest of us do - form a healthy working relationship with your supervisors, make yourself useful to your employer, speak for yourself, and if you don't like your current place of employment or who runs the place, go out and find another one. if you find you current line of work isn't marketable, go make yourself marketable by getting re-educated. Don't look to any body to take care of you, not a union and not the government. Take responsibility for yourself.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

IF the company has violated the contractual terms then you should consider going on strike. Yes, there, I said it. You have a LOT of options, read your contract if your union rep doesn't respond to you, go up the chain, keep going until you get answers! Stand up for your rights..... or you can complain on an internet blog. Old man yells at cloud is as effective as complaining on an internet blog or an internet petition. And again I reiterate if the paycheck doesn't say Ford you don't work for Ford or get the benefits entitled thereof. Just because you make parts for Ford doesn't matter. Ford spun off it's parts division because they could be profitable paying union workers $25-30/hr to make: wiper motors, alternators, fuel injectors, interior components or climate control parts. GM did the same thing with Delphi. You knew, or should have known, all of this when you started working at Visteon or ACH. It's NOT Ford. Ugh!

ACHsaline worker

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

I'm not against that, just saying that if I pay dues to have someone their to have my back and instead they are with their backs to the situation then I really don't see the need for them to take the money out of my check! I have grown up in a Union household and have always respected what the union once stood for, but when you work for a company which has 4 different paying systems that range from 30$ 20$ 14$ and 11$ let's just say it doesn't sit we'll with people, everyone does the same jobs for a massive amount pay difference. The union once stood for every person equal but that went down the drain and now look, breaching of contracts has now became ok as well, the people that make 11$ an hr can not afford to buy the product that we are making and that was not what Mr. Ford was all about.. His family should be ashamed!!!

Unusual Suspect

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

"We pay does and they do NOTHING!!!" So stop paying the dues. Of course, that would require right-to-work, and you are probably against that.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.

Bigsexy has it right. My husband worked at Saline plant and had for 5 yrs. He knew and discussions on his line were had about getting out of there asap. It was known that flat rock wouldn't be pulling workers until spring. ACH workers have been getting pushed around and the union has mostly sat on their hands which isn't much of a surprise. These guys have worked faithfully for years only to be treated as new hires when moved to actual Ford plants. Pay freeze for a year? Ok we can deal. But when my husbands car broke down on the way to work and he followed the rules from the Saline plant and called in they wanted to fire him! This after the union told them to use all their personal days before they left Saline because they wouldn't transfer which turned out not to be true. He ended up with 3 days off which is better than being fired, but where's the company loyalty, or even compassion for a real circumstance? After years of good work and loyalty for Ford production nomatter what secondary name is on the pay check stub? Its sad but how things are in the new economy. As disgusting as that is, the union told them when they hired in that if they don't vote Obama they should walk out now. Now that's disgusting. I don't care who your choice is, but it should be personal not pushed on you by any group.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

It is nice that in the past you had protections most of us will never have. Get used to the real world now.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 7:53 a.m.

The workers beef should be with UAW President Bob King who left them high and dry. King was the master mind behind having 3/4 of the Saline jobs eliminated and moved to the faurecia JV in detroit. The 67% Obama vote in Washtenaw County pales compared to the 94% in Detroit. Sorry folks and welcome to the new Obama economy. The protest should begin in front of King's office not on Michigan Ave. Right to work anyone?????????


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:35 a.m.

Lower level, unskilled manufacturing workers need to look for ways to improve their own station. These jobs are archaic. It's not a career like it once was. There's no stability at all, and you will continue to be treated as expendable. The key is to view these jobs as a stepping stone to something else. The flux of the industry is just too wild to stay at the bottom of the food chain and expect to be treated like a human being, unfortunately. Some of these auto makers offer tuition reimbursement; I'd suggest people try as much as they can to take advantage of this if it's available. Education isn't for pretension; it's a way to give yourself qualifications that enable you to have more options in life. Low level manufacturing jobs in modern times will always keep a blade swinging over your head. If you want to remain in such dangerous uncertainty, keep expecting the Union or your Company to be honest with you, and keep leaping from plant to plant looking for salvation. If you want to take control of your future, start looking for a way to empower yourself and escape. Accept that nobody is going to save you but you, then take whatever action you can. Now is not the time to wait and see how it goes.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 3:09 a.m.

There's a issue of principle and economic realities. Principle says since my Union that I pay dues to is "conspiring" with Faurecia to sell us out by never making us permanent workers at Ford, I should proudly walk out the door and hold my head high. The economic realities of 2012....Its' hard, even with YEARS of HIGHER EDUCATION to find a decent paying job. Add on top of this equation, each year a potential worker is over the age of 35, lessens by 2-5% each year until the age of 55, they will find employment. Why? Because age discrimination is also a reality in today's employment climate. Here's my suggestion for Kelly an his fellow co-workers. Although it truly sucks, sign the terms of employment letter with Faurecia. Afterwards, pursue examining other employment options. Good thing in the meantime, you'll have employment and a consistent paycheck. As for the UAW and their lack of representation, send a DEMAND LETTER immediately to UAW International -addressed certified receipt to Bob King - requesting a refund all union dues since your initial hire date. Why? Well, since the UAW allowed Ford, ACH and Faurecia to lie to you for years, the UAW failed to provide the proper unionized representation for dues provided. Also, be prepared to take the UAW to court in a class-action lawsuit, if necessary, to return the dues paid!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 4:54 a.m.

Don't know about the facts you put forth,but I'm not gonna call you a liar. I'm 47 years old, I've been starting to think about that kinda stuff.There are more older people in our country than ever.The baby boomers are coming of age. And yes, discrimination of any kind is not right. As for Mr Kelly and us fellow co-workers,It did suck to sign those papers, not knowing what your signing sucks. As for the demand letter, it's been sent. And as for your last point, it's being taken care of.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

After talking to Mr Kelly,whom i work with, he wasn't complaining about the at will part of the application,he knows that part. It's the part about the app. being active not to exceed 90 days. So what happens after 90 day's? Am i then laid off after 6 years of work there? What the Ford comment didn't say, was they have broken the 2003,2007,and 2011 contracts, with the unions blessing. ?!? Since they let it happen. I was told when i hired in i would top out at 18.50 an hour. Instead they stopped us at 16.50 an hour. once again with the unions blessing. We didn't even get insurance until Oct.2011. In 2009 after 2 years in, my buddy died of a heart attack at the ripe age of 32. If we had insurance he could have went to the doctor and said "hey Doc my ticker's not feeling right could you check it out". I like to think he could still be alive. R.I.P. Shay. And I ask, would anybody sign a document for employment when you don't know your wages, benefits,work and attendance rules etc. ? I did it because i didn't have a choice. I singed everything under duress. Because my union let that happen.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:16 a.m.

Yes, the only education that matters comes from paying money to receive documentation that states that you aren't an idiot. If you didn't pay to have your worth verified, you don't deserve food, shelter, transportation, health care, or the ability to raise a family. These are luxuries you only deserve after going to an approved educational institution. The escalating cost of living has nothing to do with anything. I don't want to hear anymore uneducated factory rat excuses. I am perfectly in touch with all realities of modern society. I am fully aware of what people who aren't exactly like me are going through. We live in the fairest of times. Everyone is getting exactly what they deserve on a completely even playing field. Anyone who claims to have a problem is a cry baby who should be ignored. This is final. Good day sir I said good day.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:16 a.m.

I think the cap should be like $14 hr. If you do not have a degree and are only putting a part on a part so be it. The free rides are over. The reality of the real world has finally set in for the under educated factory rats.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

I wish they would just close this place down. It has become a eyesore to our city. The higher paid uneducated riff raff from out of town is getting old in our community.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:34 p.m.

I grew up in Saline and it's because of people like Saline_Wins that made me hate Saline. In my opinion it's better to have a operating business rather than a large, empty, decaying plant. If you like seeing those, move further east out of Saline. Or how about you cover all the tax revenue the city is going to miss once they pack up and leave?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:08 a.m.

Yeah I much prefer the local uneducated riff raff we raised bringing down the community directly.

taxpayer united

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

Look what the good old union does for you these days. Union Business Agents who make over 100k a year should be ashamed. Was in a union once and got sold out and hope to never be in another union. Unions just go along with anything the company says these days so they can still collect there money to pay their high salary's. You can say whatever you want I lived it and saw it first hand.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

If everyone only knew everything behind this whole story... If U don't work there now you really can't relate to what is going on and there is already a lawsuit going on with Ford Motor Company and Local 892 in saline.....

Basic Bob

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:19 p.m.

After the lawsuit there will be less money left to pay workers. Only the lawyers get rich in this story.

music to my ear

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

get a lawyer, a tent go camp outside the main ford headquarters, have a sign that sezs Mr. ford can you please help me .oh call the t. v stations tell them your story maybe some station will carry it (I hope you dont get in trouble at fords headquaters for trespassing.THE maza plant (Ford) in flatrock I heard might be hiring its sad when the foreign company s own us


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

I work at the Saline plant and have been there since 12/07 and I agree with Danny to a certain extent..... I didn't have a choice but to sign employment with DAS. I can't go without a paycheck... I have two kids too and a new car payment and lots of bills like we all do.... I agree the way that the union is treating us is crappy and has been for a very long time now but what are we going to do about it??? I don't think it's fair though that we should have to pay union dues if the union isn't there for us like they should be. I am looking forward to going to Auto Alliance in Flatrock this spring.... But until I get called to go I will still be at Saline because I need a paycheck and my insurance.... we should be lucky they are at least letting us do that... not too many companies would... Im not going to worry too much about it... It's in God's hands and everything happens for a reason......


Mon, Nov 19, 2012 : 7:18 a.m.

@Uglibone, I was trying for a bit of levity. ;-) The situation can't be any fun. On one hand I feel terrible for all of you at the Saline Plant, but on the other I feel like most of you didn't do your own due diligence about the situation and make other decisions. Try taking a step back, take the emotions out of this situation, because it's business decision, and be objective. Hundreds, nie thousands, of people in Michigan would love to have a good union job like you've got. Think about what you do have.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

You cannot be compelled to join the union. You can decline to join and pay less, but you wold have to pay.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:03 a.m.

Damn Tag,ease up. Yes it's Flat rock assembly now, not A.A.I.. But Wayne Assembly is now called MAP, Michigan Assembly Plant. We are still getting used to the new names.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

Do you even know where you're going? LOL ;-) AutoAlliance doesn't even exist anymore. The agreement between Ford and Mazda was dissolved months ago and Ford owns 100% of Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant. Pssst .... that's where you might be going.

Huron 74

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:02 p.m.

Whether you are for unions or against them, it doesn't matter. The trick to getting and keeping a good job is to make yourself valuable to your employer. I mean by LEARNING. Unions train tradespeople. But you can also take initiative on your own to learn a technical, management or other skill. I'm sorry, but there are millions of people out there looking for jobs who just want to put part A into part B and collect a paycheck. If it was YOUR company how much would YOU pay them?


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:29 a.m.

"I think a happy workforce is a good workforce." What a novel concept.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:50 a.m.

Well Huron, right about the unions. I'm at my first union plant,and i don't like it. As for making myself valuable,There isn't much wiggle room. And being in management aint much better. The company goes thru them like diapers. And your right,putting part A into part B isn't that hard. But when your line is doing things at 30 to 40 seconds per part it's stressful. If you mess up not only is your boss yelling at you,but now his boss is yelling at you and him, all the while your fixing your mistake and trying to not shut the line down again. If it was my company,being as that i'm not greedy,as long as i'm making a buck,i;d pass what i could to my workforce.I think a happy workforce is a good workforce.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

"All ACH employees in Saline were offered jobs with Faurecia when the French company bought the plant, but many turned down the offer hoping for jobs at Ford." I can't believe this mentality still exists out there. I spent from 18 to age 30 working a dead end job with many others, waiting for that Ford application to come to me, while I watched several other folks I knew get hired in because they knew someone. Even at that time, the writing was on the wall that the no skill $60k a year plus pension way of life was fast becoming history. Finally, at 30 at realized waiting for the ship that may never come was a waste of time and I enrolled myself in school (while still working that dead end job for another 5 years) and got a technical bachelors degree and four technical associate degrees on the way to earning the BS degree. Advice to those still hanging on. Get an engineering or some kind of technical degree if you really want a shot at getting into Ford. The days of the six figure factory rat are all but gone.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

@uglibone - Went to school part time at WCC for many years. Would usually only cost $500-$600 a semester (broken down $100-$150 a month). When I transferred still went part time and used money I had saved in the mean time. My entire education was under $22,000 loosely adding up the costs. Spread that amount over 8-9 years and it's doable. Didn't need a handout or didn't feel entitled to say "I can't go to school because I can't afford it". I just wanted it and did it.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:52 a.m.

Where did you get the $ do go to school working these dead-end jobs?

Huron 74

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

Absolutely! I did the same thing. 25 years ago my boss asked me if I would learn how to program automatic machines. Best thing that ever happened to me. It was tough taking classes while raising a family, but now the world is beating down my door.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

He has NEVER worked for Ford, yet he believes he should get full benefits as soon as he starts actually working for Ford. If the paycheck doesn't say Ford, you don't work for them. Good luck, bub.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

I can tell that most of these comments are being left from a standpoint of ignorance. I worked there for nearly 6 years. Its a very hostile environment.There is no job security. Those going to Ford are supposed to be taken by seniority. They aren't. The new company holds you as long as they want. If they decide to fire you, you lose your job at Ford. They hold that over your head & the treatment you receive is less then stellar to say the least. I've seen things in that plant I didn't know were possible under protection from labor laws. Its time someone did something about it. I was one of the lucky ones to get out of there. I hope the best for those who are left. I'm glad someone is helping to get them the representation they deserve.

ACHsaline worker

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

Ty we are fighting for everything that we can!!! We are Appreciative of what we have, Constantly sticking together, and Hardworking which is why we ran ACH !!! It's nice to see someone still thinks about all of us that are still there!


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 6:10 p.m.

"Ford issued a statement that ACH attempted to preserve as many jobs as possible during the economic downturn, and that most employees at ACH plants received job options either from Ford or a new buyer." That statement is a hot messy pile of you-know-what. Myself and my ACH/Visteon salaried co-workers were simply laid-off, no offer from Ford, no offer from a buyer, nothing. Much the same happened with hourly employees as well. If they were offered positions with Ford, they lost seniority and were basically "new hires" at the lower wage tier. However, the reality of business in 2012 is that most every position is an "at will" position. I don't understand the person who thinks unemployment is better than a less-than-perfect job. You are kidding, right? Unemployment is no bed of roses, and it runs out in a very short amount of time. Trust me, I know. Mr. Kelly, as a former employee of Ford/Visteon/ACH, my advice to you is to take the job, sign the darn paper, then keep looking for another job if you run out of patience.

Rich Hess

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 6:06 p.m.

I'm wondering if it is a "coincidence" this happened after the right to have collective bargaining failed? It seems as if we are returning to 1900 era mentality, where workers have no rights, and this is sad for the young generation. They are going to be abused like no working class has ever seen!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 8:54 a.m.

Superhappyfunbrett, Exactly on point! A sad state of affairs for the UAW indeed. Yet, they wonder why the younger generation (under 35 y.o.) believe they don't need, want or desire union representation.... Actions like what has been written about here, about the UAW, Ford, ACH and Faurecia "conspiracy" to sell out workers on the line, is exactly the reason why, in a nutshell.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:55 a.m.

I say if the Union wants membership to grow and to gain more respect from general public, they should do more to improve the working environment of the people it's collecting dues from. Unions would have no reason to fear Right To Work if they did their jobs, because everyone would want to be in a Union. Somewhere along the line, it became more important to retain membership dues no matter what, oppose to actually protect one another. This will be the downfall of Unions. This is the main reason why people have such little respect for Unions these days. Because we see, know, ARE employees being mistreated, yet... dues are still collected. The only thing Unions seem to be good at are saving the jobs of people who probably deserve to be fired. They are no longer protecting and helping the honorable, hard workers. They aren't helping good and honorable workers stay safe and/or make a reasonable living wage. These aren't the Unions that fought to get us weekends and health care and enough money to buy a house and put our kids through school and other reasonable things. These modern Unions will sell you out in a heartbeat and do anything to keep the flow of dues coming. That is job number one now days for a Union. Sadly.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:07 a.m.

I agree with the 19th era mentality stuff. I think we are going down that road again, but unusual s has somewhat of a point with the laws. But If unusual s may not know is compamys are haveing record profits because they are doing more if not the status quo, with less workers and or less pay.Got to pay the share holders, it' all greed

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

Workers - all of us - have a lot of rights and protections in federal, state and local laws. Stop spreading the myth that if unions lose even a little of their stranglehold that we will all be whipped by our bosses and children will have to work 25 hours per day in hot, dangerous factories.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:55 p.m.

I would like to congratulate all commenters on refraining from referring to Ford as, "Fords."


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

If you are doing your job correctly and are not causing problems to cause your employment to be terminated then what is the big deal. Seems to be Kelly's choices are hoping the Union will come to the rescue or making the choice to suck it up and support your family. Shouldn't be a difficult decision.

taxpayer united

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

the difference is the amount of money he is going to lose per hour in his pay for doing the same job.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

I just want to know if his soon to be vacant spot is up for grabs and how to go about pursuing it?

Angry Moderate

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

Wow, and to think that people his age are always calling my generation lazy and self-entitled. If he turns down a full time job, they should deny his unemployment benefits.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

Autumotive Components Holdings was a Ford Motor company managed temorary business formed to sale or close 17 Visteon plants(faciities, research etc) transferred from Visteon to Ford. We all knew that the Saline plant was going one of those to be sold or closing down the road. The bottom line is everybody knew that it was going to happen. The smart people who seen this coming got out while the getting was good. The remaining folks should have done the same thing before everything hit the fan!


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:41 a.m.

Ya big sexy your right about the Ford,Visteon, ACH thing. I was told my plant was for sale,and i was temp.But according to the first of three contracts that the company broke,and the union let happen, if i worked 1 full year,full time. i would become entry level ford. 6 years and 3 contracts broken i'm still there. But getting out aint as easy as you say,besides out right quiting. Unless i have the insight you seem to have


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

The union, through gossip and rumor, wanted the workers specifically of the Saline Plant to believe they were going to 'go back' to Ford much like the Rawsonville Plant did. I don't know how many times I heard Saline was going back to Ford.

rusty shackelford

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Look, I'll be the first to say that the UAW has done a lot of things to screw over some of its younger and newer workers. But do you honestly think that breaking solidarity so publicly, so specifically, in the middle of things like this is going to help the situation? You've just weakened your own and your union's position. I'm sure they're trying to figure this out, too, while unions across the country are being battered left and right. They don't need their own members giving a hostile business reporter and management more fodder to work with.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.

Wah wah. At will is normal these days. If you make yourself indispensable you have nothing to fear. 95% of UAW workers are great. The 5% are awful. The UAW is trying to keep the 5%'s job for them, because they have to protect every slug. Just be glad they didn't buy the plant and move it to Mexico. Now go to work.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:31 p.m.

Personal experience working in 3 different Ford plants with UAW employees.

rusty shackelford

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

Please share your sources for that totally not made up statistic.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

He might as well quit now seeing as he's already doomed any working relationship with the new owner. I'm sure they don't have a soft spot for him now after bringing this to the media and publicly calling them out. Most of the time the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but sometimes it just gets replaced.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Write back in a year or so and let us know how this worked out for you. Tell us if the two birds in the bush were better. Anybody want to take bets on it?


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

Heaven forbid your quality of work actually determines if you can keep your job. Collecting unemployment is now better than the risk of being fired? Pathetic. Do your job well and you won't lose it.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

That's not true. You can be the best at your job, but if your CEO decides he needs to be making a few million more to buy that second yacht, he will think nothing of sending your job to an Asian country.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

For the sake of the kid Sign the form Keep your job until a better one shows up. If your pay gets cut Keep your job until a better one shows up If they make you speak french on the job quit or move to France, join their union, and live the good life Michigan workers no longer enjoy.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

I worked for 35 years for the same company (an automotive supplier) and my employment was specifically "at will". Perhaps according to Mr. Kelly's thinking I should not have taken the job in the first place???

rusty shackelford

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:09 p.m.

Congratulations on freeriding on the advances and standards the labor movement has been fighting for for a century.

calvin hooper

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

iv'e been a union member for over 45 years and here lately i don't understand how they can sell the union members down the road to poverty. not like just 20 years ago at that time the leaders of the unions were for the members not in bed with the the root of all evil .


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Study hard kids.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

"I agree that if I am hired, DAS may terminate my employment with or without cause, and with or without notice, at anytime" This is just a part of grown-up life. Every job I have ever had in my 30 years of work has had this arrangement. And to make it a little clearer, even though it's not stated it is implied that it's, "... with or without cause, and with or without notice, at anytime, according to federal, state and local labor laws."

Basic Bob

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:58 p.m.

@johnny, if he signs the contract he gets to keep his job and still has whatever protection his union and labor laws provide. At will jobs do not allow the employer to fire a good employee for no reason, no matter what the contract says. Of course lack of work is a reason. If he doesn't sign, he will have no job and probably no unemployment benefit because he has resigned voluntarily .

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

Dude, check your caps lock.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

NOT TRUE. learn about WARN and then comment, Until then, you do not know what you are talking about. The contract they are asking him to sign says they can fire him for wearing a blue shirt OR they could fire him for supporting the union 9a clear violation of the law) they could also fire him for supporting Mitt Romney, or for supporting ANYTHING they say they want to. I am sure you never worked under a CONTRACT. ou worked under a true at will provision. A CONTRACT spells out EXACTLY what you will get paid for the job you are to perform. Your employer can give you any raise they choose to, and can lower your pay however they want. RIGHT TO WORK is for those too stupid to want to better the middle class. 8 of the top 12 states with the highest unemployment are RTW states. That has been consistent through time.

zip the cat

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:18 p.m.

Unions took it on the chin,big time on nov 6 They spent a gazillion $ and lost on all fronts. Almost all employers non union in this state are at will You can thank engler for that. So,suck it up and sign the form and be thankfull that you have a good paying job to go to every day.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

Here's your chance "Job Creators!" C'mon, you have a higher percentage of the country's wealth in your pockets than at any other time in United States history. Lets create some jobs! Anyone? Anyone? *crickets*


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 6:43 a.m.

hear hear

Linda Peck

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

I have always, when not self-employed, been an at-will employee to someone. That is real life. You are either needed, wanted, or both, or not. End of story. Business owners are not the same as parents.


Sat, Nov 17, 2012 : 12:50 a.m.

But what happens when employers keep firing employees and bringing in new workers for lowers wages - after breaking contracts? I hear what your saying, but... There's a line to consider here. Not just concerning factory workers, but American workforce in general. One can't expect invincibility from employer, but little to no rights at all might be quite the bleak future. I see argument from both sides. Economy would benefit from making same consideration I believe.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2 p.m.

Part of me wants to say "now that the election is over, the union will get back to focusing on their members instead of politics". Part of me wants to say "Wow, just wow". Mr. Kelly had a chance, as the article says to sign on with the plant as a full time worker and chose to roll the dice and transfer to Ford later, staying a long-term temp worker at the plant. If he had taken the original deal that the new owners had offered, he would not have this issue. Instead he held out for moving to Ford. On one hand I can't blame him for taking the risk, but he has to realize, he took a risk, by not deciding to take the original offer from the new owners. We don't know what advise anyone give him when the original offer came around, so we don't know what he was "promised" by the union or fellow employees or management or... I would suspect that most of the employees at the plant would have taken the original offer with the new owner - so the number that needed advice from the union may have been small - I can't prove it because the article does not have any facts in it - but if it was a small number that held out for a transfer, then maybe the union only had a few people to worry about and it was not a big issue for the union brass. Transitions are hard, most people stress out when their company is sold or leadership changes. I feel for Mr. Kelly on that point. Unions need to be helpful to all of their members - that is way they exist. The fact that the article is almost purely from Mr. Kelly's point of view with little or no follow up with Ford, ACH, Visteon, the union, or others shows a complete lack of balance by the reporter and the editorial staff.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

Paula - Tried is not succeeded. It used to be when people dodged you, you got in a car and drove to the location to see people. Now it is an email or three, a phone call or two and a note in the story that you tried. Dogged determination used to be what reporting was all about. This story, like many in this blog seems to be one sided with a "tried to contact" comment. There was no reason to run the story on a specific day, the story would have kept three or four more days if you had wanted to. While it makes interesting human interest, it lacks the news quality of a balanced report. Something the Ann Arbor News used to be good at.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 7:08 a.m.

From what I've gathered, the Companies don't really care about the workforce, because they know it's mostly replaceable. And the Union might not want to comment because they have no idea what they are doing. Sounds like everything is mixed up at Saline Plant - including truth and lies. If things haven't been communicated well by their Union to the workforce, well... it'd be hard to make informed decisions as an employee. Sounds like the Union has a lot of explaining to do. If anyone can actually get a hold of someone in the Union. :-)


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

@Paula: Naaaaaaaaaah. Always much easier to hurl unfounded accusations that to actually read the article.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

I hope you noticed the part of the story that says we tried repeatedly to reach the union and companies over many days.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2 p.m.

"It just doesn't make any sense. To be honest with you, I am just really disappointed. I feel that my local union and my international union has let me down and failed me and my co-workers." Welcome to the New Union.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Grow up! Every offer letter I have ever received, or provided to a new employee, had that exact language.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

Oh Danny Boy..... Welcome to the real world.....


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

as for pay disparities...gotta say it - equal pay for equal work. If you have people doing the same things and they aren't getting paid the same...of course there will be hostility.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 11:01 p.m.

and that has what to do with people doing the same job right beside one another in the same non-governement business being paid differently? nothing.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:26 p.m.

Of course this cuts both ways. NO way should government employees make more than private citizens doing the same job just because they are in the union. Especially when they are being paid by the tax payers.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

That looks to me as pretty standard wording for an employement agreement in this state. Michigan is an "at will" (not to be confused with Right to Work) state. I haven't belonged to a Union but everything employment agreement I have ever signed has included that language.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

I love how you corporate shills jump on every chance you see to Union bash. Yes, the Unions are greedy but you know who is even greedier? The business owners they sit across the bargaining table from. Remember Ford CEO Alan Mullally's $50 million payout in 2011? But he deserves it right? Because he built all those Ford cars and parts himself and sold them all, right? Ford's success has had nothing to do with excellent American labor and craftsmanship and everything to do with the business acumen of the executives, huh? Wrong: Unions and the middle class are what made America great, not rich jerks who want to keep all the money for themselves while cutting everyone else's wages. You want to make Michigan a right to work state, eh? More like right to never again have job security for the common man, the right to work yourself to death for an employer who pays you peanuts and will fire you the instant you get hurt or sick. Just like the "Good ol' days", when you could make a man work in a pool of toxic slime and deny him benefits for the cancer he developed because of it. Young Americans have no idea what things used to be like for common people before Unions. Ever hear of Henry Ford sending his hired thugs to beat up men and women for trying to unionize? People got shot and houses were burned down by corporate thugs trying to prevent workers from forming a Union. Perhaps you ought to get your history books out. Read up on the French Revolution too; Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, those are the same values we value here and if people are not careful history will repeat itself.


Fri, Nov 16, 2012 : 5:40 p.m.

"Remember Ford CEO Alan Mullally's $50 million payout in 2011? But he deserves it right? " As the only American Auto CEO to keep his company out of bankruptcy, I'd say he was worth every penny. You need look no further than GM and Chrysler to see the cost of inept leadership.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

Bcar How many of your beloved auto plants in the southern states bend over backwards to make sure their employees don't join a union? Do you think they would be such 'wonderful' employers if that fear wasn't there? You don't have to be a member of a union to benefit from unions.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:16 p.m.

Ryan, its amazing how ignorant of history these union antagonists are. They are ignorant of the struggle to get the wages and benefits we all enjoy today. They seem to think these things were given to us by ownership out of the kindness of their hearts. While condemning the basic right of the worker to collective bargaining for a fair wage and a safe workplace, they defend to their last breath the greed of corporate ownership, all the while ranting about the perfection of the capitalist system. Its a scary world we live in when such gross ignorance is so common.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

It's the union greed that has driven us to this point. Union contracts that employers and governments couldn't afford unless they could pass the cost on to the consummer are surely part of the problem. Now that we live in a global market where people can buy things from any country they choose, they vote with their pocketbooks. The union leaders have seen this comming for years and done nothing to change the memberships preception, because it would effect membership volume. As long as the unions keep trying to resist this new reality, they will continue to lose members. There was a need for unions 50 years ago to be sure, but not now unless they start working with employers and stop calling them the enemy.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Thugs? You are talking about 50 years ago, that was then and this is now. Like the rest of us, workers need to wake up to the new reality. We are now in a global market and workers are competing with global labor. This is the sad reality of the world we now live in. Maybe the greed of the unions who never thought that museling there employers would ever come back to haunght them is some of the problem.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

yeah yeah! and what about the slaves in the 1600s, where was their union! (eyes rolling...) How many people are still alive when HF1 was doing those things? Ever hear of OSHA? look at the southern states, how many of their auto plants do what you spoke about in your 2nd paragraph? yep, NONE. Seems to be working for them (the workers), why does the UAW get voted DOWN every time they try to break into one of those plants? hmmm? workers being treated unfairly? fired for being sick? if so, wouldnt they want to unionize??? stop spreading union fear...most of us can see past the BS.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

I find it hard to believe that the union is not advising, counseling and helping. Maybe Mr. Kelly forgot to pay his union dues.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

No lecture here, just reality. Unions don't employ anyone. Companies do. When Union workers figure that out, American manufacturing will return. "At Will" is part of working today for any private company. Mr. Kelly may need to find a government job, or join the ranks of the rest of us working stiffs as "At Will". Or, he always has the choice to start his own company and make the rules.

Brian Kuehn

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

"At will" employment is not unusual. Most non-union employers operate with "at will" employment terms for their employees. Sign the agreement, work hard and join Ford next spring.

Laura Jones

Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

I also have always worked in these conditions, but considering he pays a union to represent his interests, I would say they have sold him down the river.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

He's really on a different planet if he thinks this is strange language. Every job I've ever worked has been 'at will'. Any other job he applies for after walking away from this is going to be 'at-will'. Good luck on that bad decision panning out positively!


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

..."no job might be the better option." Welcome to UAW mentality! The UAW failing at protecting their workers, ha, never... Support right-to-work and maybe we'll see a NEW plant open in MI in the next decade. I worked at this plant for 2 years and another 3 with Visteon before I saw the writing on the wall and ran for the hills in 2005. Ahh, MI is an at-will employment state Kelly, they can fire you regardless, at-will... Also, he took the job in 2007 but has been building ford parts for 7 years? Math anyone?


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

A LOT of people make parts for Ford and don't work at Ford, they're called suppliers. Flatrock is going to need more people with the (re)-addition of the second shift for Fusion production. Though Flatrock will also have plenty of downtime over the next couple years as they'll also have a major changeover for the new Mustang.


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

(Kelly expected to be hired as a full-time Ford worker, but has been working at the plant for seven years as a 'temporary' hourly employee of Automotive Components Holdings.) Sounds as if it adds up!


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

Good luck Mr. Kelly. Unless signing the agreement voids your ability to potentially go to Ford/Flat Rock it looks like you're better off signing it. Having a job on Monday morning makes it easier to find a better job if you decide to leave in the future. I've been "spun-off/merged/acquired/bankrupted" repeatedly over 30 years and keeping the paycheck coming has always been "Job 1".


Thu, Nov 15, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

This is the correct short term answer. Like JimmyD said, keep the money coming in and in the meantime keep looking for a better opportunity.