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Strike at Ford Motor Co. in Northern Mexico Delays Exports

March 2, 1987

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) _ The 4-month-old Ford Motor Co. plant in the northwestern city of Hermosillo was shut down Monday as striking laborers demanded a 70 percent wage increase.

The $500 million plant began producing 1987 Mercury Tracers last November, mainly for export to the United States.

The huge automated plant, considered one of the most modern in the world, ceased production shortly after midnight Saturday when workers walked off the job after negotiations broke down between Ford and the Ford Workers Union in Hermosillo, the Mexico City newspaper El Universal reported.

El Universal said the 850 unionized workers who earn between 108,000 and 118,000 pesos a month, or $104 to $113, were demanding a 70 percent wage increase. The plant employs about 1,600 workers.

Ford, which had been producing about 225 of the subcompact Tracers a day, shipped the cars to the United States by rail to Nogales, Ariz.

Ford last year produced 40,591 vehicles, mainly for the domestic market, according to the Mexican Automotive Industry Association.

Its Hermosillo plant was constructed under a Mexican government ultimatum to begin exporting or cease production in Mexico. Chrysler and General Motors also export vehicles from Mexico to the United States.

Ford spokesmen have said wages lower than those demanded by auto workers in the United States and flexibility in work assignments in Mexico make automobile production in that country more cost effective.

The minimum wage in Mexico was raised in January by 23 percent to 3,050 pesos a day, or about $2.94.

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