Ford cuts to be felt at Margaretta plant

MARGARETTA TWP. Local Ford workers still have until Oct. 31 to walk away from their jobs voluntarily
Annie Zelm
May 24, 2010



Local Ford workers still have until Oct. 31 to walk away from their jobs voluntarily.

But if the company doesn't trim enough of its workforce, it may no longer be voluntary.

United Auto Workers Local 1216 president Kevin Furr said he expects about a dozen or fewer workers at the Sandusky Automotive Components Holding plant to take the buyouts offered earlier this summer.

Union officials hosted the first informational meetings earlier this week to discuss buyout options, but only a handful expressed interest in taking the deal.

Ford officials told UAW members last week that the company hopes to cut at least4,200 workers.

"Last year, they wanted 8,000 to 13,000 to take the buyouts, and I don't think they'll come any closer to it this time," Furr said.

He doesn't anticipate forced layoffs at the Sandusky plant, but admitted it is always apossibility.

Ford workers at ACH would first enter into a protective status in an effort to move them to another plant before they would lose their jobs entirely, he said. About 750 of the plant's1,000 workers are Ford employees.

The local plant, which supplies parts for about 70 of Ford's lighting operations, is already close to an ideal ratio of employees to production, Furr said -- making it perhaps less likely that Ford would choose to cut staff there.

Ford has trimmed its hourly work force by nearly 40 percent during the past three years, leaving the force at about 61,000 in the United States, Canada and Mexico as of June 30, according to the Detroit Free Press.

ACH spokesman Eric Mitchell said each of its eight automotive plants will continue offering buyouts through October. The ACH plantscollectively employ about 6,600 people throughout the United States.