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St. Paul Ford plant to close in September 2009

A new closing date has been set for the Ford plant in St. Paul, despite strong sales for its main product.

The United Auto Workers now say the plant will close in September of 2009, leaving a good number of employees from western Wisconsin out of work.

Ford itself had another tough month in February. But sales of the Ranger pick-up - which is made in St. Paul - rose by 27 percent from a year ago.

Still, all major auto-makers reported weak sales last month, due mainly to high gas prices and a slipping economy.

The St. Paul plant currently works four 10-hour days per week. But the UAW's Jim Eagle says they'll go back to a five-day overtime schedule in late March.

Just more than 920 people now work at the plant. That's down from 1,700 early last year when many workers took buyouts as part of a re-structuring plan.