Ford lays off 400 workers as auto strike nears one-month mark and efforts to raise UAW wages by 25% fall flat with the union
Ford has announced a new round of layoffs for auto workers as the crippling UAW strike enters its third week.
The auto giant notified about 350 employees at the Livonia Transmission Plant and another 50 at the Sterling Axle Plant, both in Michigan, not to return to work on Wednesday “until further notice.”
The layoffs bring the total number of people laid off by Ford as a result of the strikes to about 1,330 employees, compared to 330 layoffs announced just days earlier in Chicago and Lima, Ohio.
General Motors and Stellantis, the other two of Detroit’s “Big Three” currently facing the UAW strikes, have joined Ford in the mass layoffs. With more layoffs expected, GM has laid off more than 2,100 employees in four states, while Stellantis has laid off nearly 370.
As picket lines swell to more than 25,000 workers, an analysis by Michigan economic consultancy Anderson Economic Group shows the strikes have already cost the U.S. economy nearly $4 billion.
Ford said Wednesday it has laid off 350 workers at the Livonia Transmission Plant in Michigan (pictured) in the latest round of mass layoffs in response to the UAW strikes
Another 35 workers were told not to report for work at the Sterling Axle Plant in Michigan “until further notice,” with GM and Stellantis also joining in the layoffs as the strikes lasted nearly a month.
UAW workers march through the streets of downtown Detroit after a rally on the first day of the UAW strike in Detroit, Michigan, on September 15, 2023
Ford’s decision to release more people on Wednesday came after it made its seventh contract offer to the UAW on Monday, which it labeled its “strongest” yet.
The manufacturer’s desperation to end the strikes saw workers get “unprecedented wage improvements,” which would put the workforce among the top 25 percent of all U.
“Ford has received two extended counter-offers from the UAW, the latest on September 25. “Ford’s latest offer provides our 57,000 UAW-represented employees with a record deal and a strong future,” the company said at the time.
But the two sides still appear far apart in negotiations, with UAW leaders consistently claiming the automakers are hoarding their record profits, while Ford executives blamed the strikes for prompting a new round of layoffs.
“Our manufacturing system is highly interconnected, which means the UAW’s targeted strike strategy is having knock-on effects on facilities that are not directly targeted by work stoppages,” Ford spokesman Dan Barbossa told the Detroit Free Press, explaining why the redundancies are not necessarily necessary. at the same locations as picket lines.
‘These are not exclusions. These layoffs are a result of the strike at the Chicago Assembly Plant, as these two plants are having to scale back production of parts that would normally be shipped (there).”
Last month, UAW President Shawn Fain said the mass layoff tactic was intended to “pressure our members to settle for less.”
UAW members strike at the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Plant in Ohio. According to a recent study, the strikes have lost more than $325 million in direct wages to date
Workers stand on the picket line outside the General Motors Lansing Delta plant in Michigan
At the Chicago Assembly plant Barbossa cited, 4,613 workers who would normally produce Ford Explorers, Police Interceptors and Lincoln Aviators have been on strike since September 29, all of which have been halted.
The day before the layoffs were announced, Terry Chitwood, president of UAW Local 182told union members that he sat down with officials to discuss in detail the layoff process at the Livonia transmission plant.
In a setback, he told members who were out of work that they would not be eligible for unemployment benefits and would rely on strike aid from the UAW.
“We continue to work with all parties involved to make this transition as smooth as possible,” Chitwood wrote in a memo initially obtained by the Detroit Free Press.
According to insiders who spoke to the outlet, Ford is also indicating it may be looking to make further layoffs at the Cleveland Engine Plant in Ohio.
The company has also warned of a ripple effect on its auto parts suppliers due to the ongoing strikes hitting supply chains.
“We understand that approximately 2,400 supplier employees have been laid off to date,” Ford Chief Supply Chain Officer Liz Door said last week.
Door warned that unless a deal is struck, the number of people losing their jobs could be “somewhere between 325,000 and 500,000 workers.”
UAW President Shawn Fain declared that “America has our backs” as he announced the automaker strikes expanding to more than 25,000 workers last week
Fain leaned on a historic visit from President Biden as he escalated the strike action
The strikes made their way to the epicenter of American politics, with Donald Trump choosing to speak to protesters rather than attend the second Republican presidential debate.
The mass march orders come in response to UAW chief Shawn Fain’s announcement last week that the strikes would be expanded by another 7,000 people, bringing the total on the picket lines to as many as 25,000 workers.
Fain leaned on the historic visit of President Biden, who became the first sitting president to join a picket line just days earlier on September 26, when he declared that the strike was expanding because “America has our backs.”
The strikes made their way to the epicenter of American politics last week, when former President Donald Trump also chose to speak to striking autoworkers instead of attending the second Republican presidential debate.
While calling on workers to join strikes at select factories in Chicago and Michigan, Fain blasted negotiators for prioritizing “corporate greed.”
Fain blasted the automakers’ negotiators for hoarding record profits, saying the companies were “doing incredibly well, so we deserve to do incredibly well too.”
He said the UAW worked “day and night” on a new contract, but despite a “willingness to negotiate” there was “no meaningful” movement, leading to the strike being expanded to two more factories at the time.
In August, as strike action was threatened but increasingly a reality, estimates from the Anderson Economic Group put the cost of even a 10-day union strike at a loss of $5.6 billion to the economy.
Strikers protest at the picket line on the day U.S. President Joe Biden joined them outside GM’s Willow Run Distribution Center, in Belleville, Wayne County, Michigan, on September 26, 2023
UAW protesters picket outside Ford’s Wayne Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan on September 26
Complaints about automakers raking in record profits while challenging higher wages for workers have grown as layoffs continue.
General Motors blamed picket lines as the number of laid-off workers topped 2,100, with the strike recently expanding to GM’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly plant in Delta Michigan.
“It is unfortunate that the UAW’s decision to declare a strike at GM Lansing Delta Township Assembly continues to have negative consequences,” GM said in a statement. CBS News Tuesday, when it confirmed the next round of layoffs.
“The affected team members are not expected to return until the strike is resolved.
‘As we are working under an expired employment contract, there are no provisions for company-provided sub-salaries in these circumstances.’
On Tuesday, the automaker reported a 21 percent increase in sales in its third-quarter earnings results.