Ford's Car Cull Decision Spills Over to Michigan Workers [Updated]
The decision to ditch all passenger cars save for the Mustang didn’t lead to immediate pain among Ford’s American workforce, but it soon will. As the automaker’s restructuring plan has only just begun, Ford found itself spared from the kind of vitriol flung at rival General Motors, which recently outlined a workforce reduction of up to 15,000 employees.
But pain is coming — to Ford’s Van Dyke transmission plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Unlike the Midwestern workforce switcheroo that followed shift cuts at two plants last month, it doesn’t look like every worker will find a new home this time.
(Ed. note — Ford has reached out to confirm that all effected employees will find a new work home. Here, in full, is their statement: “As we continue to rebalance our production to match capacity with customer demand, we are planning a reduction of approximately 230 jobs at Van Dyke Transmission Plant in the first quarter of 2019. All full-time hourly employees affected will be offered jobs at another Ford plant.”).
As reported by Wards Auto, Ford has told UAW Local 228 that cuts totalling 230 workers would begin at the suburban Detroit plant in March in order to “rebalance our production to match capacity with customer demand.”
The plant employs some 1,500 workers tasked with building transmissions for a number of vehicles, some of which have the misfortune of being cars. Specifically, the Focus, which departed Michigan Assembly last spring after Ford shifted future assembly to Mexico, then China, before discontinuing the model altogether in North America. The now-extinct C-Max hybrid also sourced its tranny from Van Dyke, as does the Fusion sedan, which received its death notice earlier this year. That model is expected to hang around in some form until 2021.
Responding to the automaker’s notice, UAW 228 said workers with seniority will be able to transfer to positions at Ford’s nearby axle plant. Meanwhile, the automaker offered to transfer workers to whatever positions exist at its Romeo, Michigan and Lima, Ohio engine plants, as well as Chicago Assembly. The available positions likely won’t total 230.
Last month, Ford cut shifts at its Louisville and Flat Rock assembly plants, though displaced workers were told they could move to the nearby Kentucky truck plant and Livonia transmission plant, with no jobs lost.
While it’s true Ford handed the Focus and C-Max a cigarette and blindfold before making its big car cull announcement, the product shift is nonetheless altering the company’s manufacturing landscape. The Fiesta, also doomed in 2019, is made in Mexico, preventing it from generating negative headlines in the United States. Workers currently building the Taurus in Chicago will likely all switch to building the 2020 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator when the aging sedan ceases production next March.
The Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, of course, hail from Mexico, where their trunks often gain lucrative cargo before crossing the border into the U.S.
A [s]big[/s] massive shoe that’s yet to drop concerns Ford’s white-collar workforce, which numbers around 70,000 on a global scale. Part of Ford’s $11 billion restructuring involves a reduction in salaried employees. How many, exactly, isn’t yet known, and Ford’s refusing to speculate on a number, but Morgan Stanley suggests the figure could be in the neighborhood of 20,000.
[Image: Ford Motor Company]
JoDa on Dec 16, 2018
Ford could easily chop 20% of global employees. They are of no value to a dinosaur bureaucracy like Ford. The new NAFTA agreement benefits Mexico at the expense of China, USA, and Canada...It is why Mexico quickly signed on. They had to change the name from NAFTA because their dumb public school tax cattle were starting to figure out that it had nothing to do with "Free Trade".
Jthorner on Dec 16, 2018
The AMC Eagle sure was ahead of its time :). https://autoweek.com/sites/default/files/styles/gen-738-415/public/83Eagle-Bottom.jpg
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