Ford Motor Co. disclosed that its workforce at its plants in the United States increased by 5,200 workers this year while its factories in North American are operating at 114 percent of capacity. Jim Tetreault, Ford's vice president of North American manufacturing, said during an event at the carmaker’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. that the company’s manufacturing costs dropped this year, thanks to two factors: capacity utilization and entry-level workers.
Ford has forged a labor agreement with the UAW that allows the carmaker to pay new workers about $16 an hour, which is less than 60 percent of what older hands receive. Ford spokesman Todd Nissen said that the carmaker has added 4,800 entry-level workers to its payroll this year.
The rest of the new jobs were given to workers transferring other Ford plants or to those coming out of the "jobs bank" of employees who have no current job assignments. Tetreault said that Ford's jobs bank is currently empty. Tetreault remarked that Ford is operating its plants at their highest capacities in his more than 30-year career. Ford has added third shifts of workers at five of its assembly plants in North America.
Ford is set to add another shift of 1,200 workers at its Flat Rock plant in Michigan in 2012. Asked by reporters whether Ford has plans to add more workers and capacity if sales in the US grow, Tetreault only said: "Stay tuned." Tetreault was at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant to launch the production of the carmaker’s latest plug-in hybrid.