Ford Motor Co.’s buyout offers, which were meant to reduce its ranks of skilled trades and production workers, had ended on March 9. Ford now announces that by June 1, around 1,700 of its U.S. factory workers will leave as they have chosen to accept the early retirement offers. Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said that from this figure, 920 are skilled-trades workers while the rest are production workers.
According to Ford's new labor contract with the UAW, those who agreed to retire would receive lump-sum payments of $100,000 to skilled-trades workers and $50,000 to production workers. Evans explained that these buyouts will allow the return of laid-off workers in certain areas.
In addition, Ford will be hiring replacement workers at lower wages as necessary. For many years, Ford has been hoping that its skilled-trades job classifications would be consolidated. Evans clarifies though that the buyout wasn’t aimed at any one group and that it was “strictly voluntary.” It also didn’t aim for a specific target. Evans asserted that not all of the retiring workers will be replaced.
Rather, the company will add around 5,500 workers to help cope with the rising demand in the U.S. She divulged that 1,200 jobs will be added at the Michigan Assembly Plant located in Wayne, Mich., and the Chicago Assembly Plant. One shift will be added for each plant. Ford is adding a second shift at its Louisville Assembly Plant for 1,800 more jobs. And in the second half of 2012, a third shift (and 1,300 jobs more) will start. By the end of the year, all the three plants in Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky will have three shifts.