Residents conflicted on Ford’s Romeo plant closure

Workers can retire, or move to nearby plant

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ROMEO, Mich. – The Ford Romeo Engine Plant is expected to close as part of Ford’s tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

The closure is expected to happen in December 2022. About 600 UAW members will be offered buyouts or transfers to a different plant.

Local leaders are worried about what the removal of a large source of jobs in Romeo could do to the area.

Four Corners’ Diner, located just a few blocks away from the plant, is a community place that loves and supports everything about the community. When employees heard the Ford Engine Plant is expected to close, they were devastated.

“My heart broke,” said Marty Hutnick. “The Ford plant has a huge impact on the community. It’s been here since the early 1960s.”

Hutnick said workers at the plant are like family members to him.

Community leaders are having conversations about the jobs and tax revenue lost in the closure. They want to know how Romeo can operate without a third of its revenue coming in.

“It’s very significant,” said village president Christine Malzahn. “It’s a devastating loss.”

Malzahn said it’s fortunate the area has time to figure something out before the estimated 2022 closure.

“We need to be proactive,” Malzahn said.

Economic leaders have begun conversations on what to do with the plant. Sources close to Local 4 claim there is interest in the plant.

Bruce Township is expected to lose about $400,000 in revenue in the closure, but township supervisor Richard Cory is optimistic.

“We’re staying positive,” Cory said. “Things are on the horizon.”

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.