Rep. Clark Honors Ford Motor Co. for 100th Anniversary in Louisville

2013 marks the 100th year of Ford’s presence in Louisville

Clark021513Representative Larry Clark honored Ford Motor Company with a resolution on the House floor honoring the 100th anniversary of manufacturing in Louisville.  A recognition ceremony will be held at the Kentucky Expo Center on Friday, February 22nd where the company officials will be presented with city and state resolutions.

Text of the House resolution is as follows:

A RESOLUTION recognizing the one hundredth anniversary year of Ford Motor Company building cars and trucks in Louisville, Kentucky, which has been a significant part of the economic, social, and cultural heritage of the City of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and congratulating Ford Motor Company for its achievements.

WHEREAS, the Ford Motor Company began automobile assembly operations in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1913, at 931 South Third Street with 17 employees building as many as 12 vehicles a day; and

WHEREAS, the first commercial automobile to emerge from the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant in 1913 was the Model T, affectionately known as the “Tin Lizzie,” which could be reconfigured by consumers to move cattle, haul freight, and even herd horses; and

WHEREAS, the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant in 1913 sold and serviced the Model T Town Car, Touring Car, and Runabout automobiles its workers produced; and

WHEREAS, Henry Ford surprised the world in 1914 by setting Ford’s minimum wage at $5.00 per eight-hour day, which replaced the prior $2.34 wage for a nine-hour day and was a truly great social revolution for the time; and

WHEREAS, that same year, with an eye to simplicity, efficiency, and affordability, Henry Ford ordered that the Model T use black paint exclusively because it dried faster than other colors, which meant more cars could be built daily at a lower cost, and Ford said the vehicle would be offered in “Any color so long as it is black”; and

WHEREAS, in 1916 Ford Motor Company moved its Louisville manufacturing operations to a new facility at 3rd Street and Eastern Parkway, producing up to 70 vehicles a day on an automotive assembly line; and

WHEREAS, the new automotive integrated assembly line changed the old manner of building one car at a time, moving the work to the worker by having parts, components, and assemblers stationed at different intervals, and beginning a new era of industrial progress and growth; and

WHEREAS, sales and service of Louisville-made automobiles in 1916 were turned over to independent automobile dealerships, which became the public’s main point of contact with the company; and

WHEREAS, by government decree, Ford’s Louisville manufacturing plant was used by the United States Army as a training installation for military mechanics during World War I; and

WHEREAS, Ford’s Louisville manufacturing operations in 1925 moved into a new 350,000 square foot facility on the banks of the Ohio River at 1400 South Western Parkway and was deemed “the largest building under one roof in the South”; and

WHEREAS, workers at Ford’s Louisville manufacturing facility rolled the last Ford Model T off the assembly line in 1927 and began making the new Ford Model A in 1928; and

WHEREAS, consumer demand for more luxury and power pushed aside the current model and began production of a new Ford vehicle with a pioneering V-8 engine in 1932; and

WHEREAS, one of the largest labor unions in the nation was formed as the United Automobile Workers (UAW) in 1935, and after a rather tumultuous beginning, won acceptance by the automobile industry and became a potent and forceful leader for auto workers, with Ford building a strong relationship with the union through its policies and programs; and

WHEREAS, the United Auto Workers-Committee for Industrial Organization Local 862 was chartered on June 23, 1941, as the first UAW-CIO local in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and began representing Ford production workers in Louisville; and

WHEREAS, by government decree, the Louisville Assembly Plant produced United States Army vehicles from 1942 to 1945 for the World War II war effort; and

WHEREAS, a revitalized Ford in Louisville met the postwar economic boom with the debut and production of the 1949 Ford, the first vehicle integration of body and fenders, which would set the standard for auto design in the future; and

WHEREAS, Ford workers at the Louisville Assembly Plant in 1954 produced its 1,500,000 milestone vehicle; and

WHEREAS, Ford relocated the Louisville Assembly Plant in 1955 to a new one million square foot manufacturing facility at 2000 Fern Valley Road, with an opening ceremony presided over by Chairman Henry Ford II and Corporate Vice President Robert McNamara; and

WHEREAS, the workforce of the new Louisville Assembly Plant grew by one thousand employees, growing the Ford UAW Local 862 membership to 2,263 production workers building the Ford Fairlane, Ford Custom, Ranch Wagon, and F-Series pickup truck; and

WHEREAS, these new production models at the Louisville Assembly Plant were followed by such well-known cars as the retractable hardtop convertible Ford Skyliner, the Ford Edsel, and Ford Galaxie; and

WHEREAS, Ford Louisville Assembly Plant vehicle production continued in the 1960s and 1970s with the Ford LTD and F-Series pickup trucks; and

WHEREAS, Ford Motor Company expanded Louisville production capacity in 1969 with the addition of a new manufacturing complex, the Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane, and 3,600 new Ford-UAW production workers; and

WHEREAS, the 2.4 million square foot Ford Kentucky Truck Plant in 1969 was the “largest truck production plant in the world under one roof”; and

WHEREAS, the Kentucky Truck Plant manufactured more than 1 million W-Series heavy trucks, F-Series trucks, and commercial trusts within a decade; and

WHEREAS, the Louisville Assembly Plant vehicle production continued in the 1980s with the Ford LTD, Ford Bronco, F-Series, Ford Ranger, and Ford Bronco II; and

WHEREAS, Ford innovation continued in the 1990s and 2000s with the introduction of the Louisville-made Ford Explorer, which defined the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment and became the best-selling SUV in the world; and

WHEREAS, “Built Ford Tough” F-Series Super Duty work truck, commercial truck, and heavy duty work truck production during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s expanded capacity volumes at the Kentucky Truck Plant, which set the world standard for American work trucks; and

WHEREAS, Ford ended production of the Ford Explorer at the Louisville Assembly Plant in 2010, retooled and reopened the manufacturing complex with 3,000 production workers in 2012 as the “most flexible automotive assembly operation in the world”; and

WHEREAS, the Louisville Assembly Plant in 2013 employs more than 4,500 highly skilled Ford UAW workers building the world’s best-selling small SUV, the Ford Escape, at record production volumes; and

WHEREAS, the Kentucky Truck Plant in 2013 employs more than 4,000 highly skilled Ford UAW workers building the world’s best-selling F-Series Super Duty work truck, commercial trucks, the Ford Expedition, and the Lincoln Navigator at production capacity volumes; and

WHEREAS, Ford Louisville-made vehicles are exported and sold in more than 140 countries around the globe; and

WHEREAS, as Ford moves into the next one hundred years of manufacturing in Louisville, the company continues its legacy of sustaining a highly skilled Ford UAW Louisville workforce building innovative, world-class, high quality cars and trucks; and

WHEREAS, Ford Motor Company is Kentucky’s largest automaker with a Louisville workforce of more than 8,500 workers, producing more than 650,000 vehicles, and, with its dealers, giving back more than $1.2 million to the community in 2012; and

WHEREAS, Kentucky’s strong industry-government partnership enabled Ford Motor Company to weather the storm of the Great Recession, retooling manufacturing facilities and creating new jobs;

NOW, THEREFORE,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

âSection 1.   The House of Representatives recognizes the 100th anniversary year of the Ford Motor Company building cars and trucks in the City of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which has been a significant part of the economic, social, and cultural heritage of Kentucky, and congratulates Ford Motor Company for its achievements both in Kentucky and around the world.

âSection 2.   The House of Representatives joins the Ford Motor Company, its employees, retirees, suppliers, dealers, many customers, automotive enthusiasts, and friends in recognizing the company’s wondrous achievements and commemorating and celebrating its 100th anniversary milestone year of manufacturing in Louisville.

âSection 3.   The House of Representatives extends its best wishes to Ford Motor Company and expects it will continue to grow and prosper in the City of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, manufacturing innovative, affordable, and environmentally sustainable world-class products for generations to come.

 

Paid for by Committee To Elect Larry Clark, Donald Clark, Treasurer. | 502-968-3546
LRC photos courtesy of LRC Public Information