DEARBORN, Mich. - Hammered by industry slowdowns, Ford Motor Co. announced on Jan. 23 that it will have to cut between 25,000 to 30,000 jobs and shut down 14 plants over the next six years to sustain itself for the long haul. There are more than a dozen or so credit unions that count Ford employees among their fields of memberships and they, too, may be bracing for Ford's aftermath. The country's second-largest automaker said the cuts represent 20% to 25% of Ford's work force in North America. The company employs approximately 122,000 salaried and hourly workers in the region. Ford said it will idle assembly facilities in St. Louis, Atlanta, Wixom, Mich., Batavia, Ohio and Windsor Casting in Ontario, Canada by 2012. Two additional assembly plants, which will be determined later this year, are also scheduled for closure. "As hard and painful as it is to idle plants and reduce our work force, we know these sacrifices are critical to set the stage for a stronger future," said Anne Stevens, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Ford, The Americas. "Sadly, this isn't just a Ford issue. It's an issue for our domestic competitors, as well." The company had previously announced plans to reduce salary-related costs by 10%, or the equivalent of 4,000 positions, by the end of the first quarter. This is in addition to earlier salaried cost actions. Under the company's existing contract with the United Auto Workers, workers at the idled plants will continue to get most of their pay and benefits until a new contract is negotiated next year. However, they may not make what they earn today because they won't be eligible for overtime. UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Gerald Bantom called the plan "extremely disappointing," the Associated Press reported on the day after the announcement from Ford. "The impacted hourly and salaried workers find themselves facing uncertain futures because of senior management's failure to halt Ford's sliding market share," they said in a statement to the news wire service. "The announcement has further left a cloud hanging over the entire work force because of pending future announcements of additional facilities to be closed at some point in the future." Ford has struggled under the weight of declining sales of its once-profitable sport utility vehicles, growing health care and materials costs and labor contracts that have limited its ability to close plants and cut jobs. "The announced plant closings and future announcements are the subject of ongoing discussions with Ford," Gettelfinger and Bantom said. "Certainly, (Jan. 23) announcement will only make the 2007 negotiations all the more difficult and all the more important." -email@example.com
Credit Unions Brace for Ford Motor Massive Layoffs, Plant Shutdowns
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