Ford Offers Buyouts to Unionized U.S. Workers

Buyout packages were offered to its 41,000 employees

Ford Motor Co. has offered voluntary buyout packages to its 41,000 unionized workers in the U.S., the company said on Dec. 21.

Ford said it does not have a specific target for how many jobs it hopes to eliminate with the buyout but acknowledged it has a "surplus of employees in our manufacturing system."

"It's part of our continued effort to right-size our capacity and align it with market demand that's going to be an ongoing effort for Ford," spokeswoman Marcey Evans said. "We'll continue to evaluate where the right levels are and where we need to be."

Workers who are eligible for early retirement will be offered incentives of $20,000 to $40,000 plus either a vehicle voucher worth $25,000 or an additional $20,000.

Workers who are not eligible for early retirement will be offered a lump sum payment of $50,000 plus either a vehicle voucher worth $25,000 or an additional $20,000.

Ford has undergone an intense restructuring in the past four years in which it shuttered factories and laid off tens of thousands of workers. Its North American unionized workforce shrank from 100,100 at the end of 2005 to 50,200 as of September 30, while Ford's salaried workforce in North America shrank from 64,300 to 21,300 during the same period.

Chief executive officer Alan Mulally said last week that the economic storm that battered the U.S. automotive industry had actually left Ford in better shape and that conditions should improve next year. "We're on a clear path to profitability now," Mulally said on Dec. 18. "It's probably in the strongest position it's ever been in."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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