Ford to extend buyout program at 14 more plants

Automaker offers buyouts to reduce its workforce in Michigan and Ohio
By Plant Engineering Staff July 22, 2008

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ford ” will expand its plant-by-plant buyout program to 14 more facilities in Michigan and Ohio, as the struggling automaker looks to further reduce its payrolls.” The “plant-by-plant buyout program started last month at two Kentucky and two Ohio manufacturing sites.” The Journal explains, “Packages include a $15,000 tuition reimbursement for four years; a $100,000 scholarship for family members, and a flat payment of $100,000 with six months of basic health care.”

The Associated Press notes, “After falling short in previous attempts to trim its hourly ranks through buyouts,” the company “is trying again — likely to make room for new hires making about half the wage of current workers.” Earlier this year, the automaker “announced corporate-wide buyout and early retirement offers for U.S. hourly workers. But only 4,200 took the offers, far fewer than the company wanted.”

According to Bloomberg , Ford, “which had about 54,000 U.S. factory workers at the start of 2008, told those employees in March that ‘we must continue to downsize and simply will not have enough jobs for all of our current hourly workers.’” The company ” began the ‘targeted’ offers last month.”

The Detroit Free Press points out, “The moves are necessary as Ford tries to reduce its costs and preserve cash in the sour U.S. economy.”

The recently announced ” buyouts are voluntary , unlike the white-collar cuts under way,” the Detroit News notes. “Ford is slashing about 15% of its North American salaried work force.”