UAW plans strike votes at Ford plants
DETROIT - The UAW will hold strike authorization votes at all Ford Motor Co. plants Aug. 17. Strike authorization votes are standard practice as bargaining heats up before the national UAW contract expires Sept. 14. By holding the votes on one day, the union is sending a message to Ford against the automaker's plan to spin off its parts-making arm, Visteon Automotive Sys-tems. The union often spreads its strike votes over many days.
FORD OUTPUT TO RESUME
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. expects to resume today, Aug. 9, two-shift normal production at its Wixom, Mich., assembly plant. The plant, which makes Lin-coln's new LS, along with the Town Car and Continental, was idled for a week after a shortage of engine castings from Ford's Essex, Ontario, engine plant. The work stoppage cut about 3,500 cars from production, said George Pipas, a Ford sales analyst. Those lost cars could be made up over the course of the year, he said.
TOKYO - Mazda Motor Corp. will promote about half its roughly 1,000 female Japanese employees by Oct. 1. The unusual step continues Mazda's drive to move toward merit-based personnel policies. Mazda began promoting staffers based on performance rather than seniority in March 1997 and set up a Women's Counseling Office in May 1998. The 500 promotions will raise the number of women in Mazda's management ranks to five, from two currently.
MEXICO CITY - American Honda Motor Co. will sell Mexican-built cars for the first time. Accords made at Honda's El Salto plant will be exported to the United States beginning in October. Both four- and six-cylinder versions will be built, mostly for the California market. The capacity of the El Salto plant got a boost because of an investment in the paint shop. The plant will reach a volume of 100 units daily in early 2000. Because of local-content rules, Honda in Mexico must export more Accords in order to import more U.S.-built and Canadian-built products.