Ford cuts contract workers effective immediately, declines to say how many


 Ford Motor Co. ended the first week of December confirming publicly that delivery of its 2021 Ford Bronco would be delayed, and then informing contract employees their commitments would be terminated.

Contract workers were notified by their agency employers late Friday that "their assignment at Ford has ended," Ford spokesman Ian Thibodeau confirmed to the Free Press.

Cuts were effective immediately upon notice, Thibodeau said.

"This adjustment is part of our continued effort to refine the work we need to do and the people required to do it," he said.

He declined to say how many people had been let go and which departments had been affected. 

Ford has long- and short-term employees working on contracts in areas including engineering product development, purchasing, and information technology.

Engineers, for example, may work years on product launches at Ford though technically employed by an outside agency. Contract employees are rarely given severance or health care; their pay ends immediately.

The Free Press reached out to an accomplished engineer who was among those just cut. He declined to discuss details about how many colleagues had lost their jobs, saying the only priority now is finding work during this Christmas season and figuring out how to support a family.

Other contract engineers declined to respond to requests for comment.

Salaried employees

Also Friday, U.S. salaried employees learned that the buyout opportunity announced in September had closed and that no additional cuts would occur in 2020.

The number of Ford employees retiring as part of the Voluntary Incentive Program fell "within the range" of a goal stated previously, Thibodeau said. "There will be no further salaried retirements or separations associated with the program."

He declined to say whether cuts would be made in early 2021, as sometimes occurs after contract workers are eliminated at companies.

"We will continue to adjust our resources as we align with the priorities ...  in the plan" outlined by CEO Jim Farley, Thibodeau said. "We’ll inform our employees directly of any measures in the future, though there is nothing to share at this time."

On Sept. 8, Ford emailed employees the details of a severance package with a goal of shedding at least 1,400 U.S. jobs by the end of 2020. The last day of employment would be Dec. 31.

Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford North America, looks at charts at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn.
Kumar Galhotra, now president, Americas & International Markets Group, who oversees the profit and loss of the business units, looks at charts at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn in 2018.ROMAIN BLANQUART, DETROIT FREE PRESS

Targeted employees had 30 years of service, were age 55 and older with 10 years of service or age 65 with five years of service

Kumar Galhotra, president, Americas & International Markets Group, who oversees the profit and loss of the business units, told workers the news and followed up with an email that said:  "We're in a multiyear process of making Ford more fit and effective around the world. We have reprioritized certain products and services and are adjusting our staffing to better align with our new work statement."

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at 313-222-6512 or phoward@freepress.comFollow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.

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