Aug. 16, 2005 – In a move to stem increasing monetary losses, the Ford Motor Company began dismissing salaried staff last week, a rare action for the company and a possible harbinger of harder times for workers throughout its North American operations.
Friday, the Detroit Free Press reported that white-collar employees of the auto giant were being fired and immediately escorted from company property, actions which had not been taken in generations. The dismissals come as the company attempts to trim 2,750 salaried workers by yearâ€™s end and follow news that the companyâ€™s North American division lost $907 million between April and June, the paper reported.
Earlier this month, Ford decided to merge sales staff at its Cincinnati, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois offices, a move that lead to an unspecified number of layoffs.
According to The Street, a business publication, Fordâ€™s actions could be used to strong-arm unionized employees into accepting cuts in pay and benefits.
Healthcare is a growing cost for the auto manufacturer. According to Reuters, the company expects to spend $3.5 billion on employee health insurance this year. Ford may close plants and announce additional job cuts before 2006 in order to tighten cost controls, the news service reported.
In July, the company announced it was trimming 250 workers from a Louisville, Kentucky plant that manufactures sports utility vehicles, the Associated Press reported. The â€˜Excursion,â€™ a large SUV built at the Louisville facility, is to be discontinued at the end of September.
Currently, Ford employs around 35,000 salaried workers. Over 1,000 workers left the company through buyouts and layoffs by the end of July, the Enquirer said.