Ford will cut about 700 workers involved in the assembly of the F-150 Lightning, an electric variant of the company’s best-selling pickup.
The No. 2 U.S. automaker said the cuts have nothing to do with the ongoing United Auto Workers strike.
Ford said the measure will take effect Monday and the services being curtailed will rotate. The company does not want to say how long the production cut will last.
Ford’s decision includes the temporary suspension of one of three shifts at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, located in Dearborn, Michigan, near the company’s headquarters.
Ford said it was processing and delivering vehicles held for quality checks after production restarted in August.
Ford will cut about 700 workers involved in the assembly of the F-150 Lightning, an electric variant of the company’s best-selling pickup. Pictured is Ford Motor Company’s electric F-150 Lightning on the production line at their Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan
The second-largest U.S. automaker made clear that the cuts have nothing to do with the ongoing United Auto Workers strike
On Friday, a United Autoworkers Union official said in a memo that Ford was considering canceling service, citing declining demand, and indicated the company wanted to build more gasoline-powered vehicles instead.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that our Lightning sales are down,” the memo said. Wall Street Journal.
Ford had previously temporarily halted operations at the plant over the summer to increase production capabilities, but this latest workforce reduction is related to supply chain issues and the processing and delivery of vehicles being held for quality inspections following a resumption of production in August.
Sales have also fallen sharply, with Ford recently reporting a 45 percent decline in Lightning sales for the third quarter compared to 2022.
Nevertheless, the company says it expects an increase in sales in the final quarter of the year as capacity expansions at the plant come into effect.
Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, called on striking workers to come together and make a deal with automakers
A worker on the Ford F-150 Lightning production line at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan
Sales of the Ford F-150 Lightning have also fallen sharply, with Ford recently reporting a 45 percent decline in Lightning sales for the third quarter compared to 2022
Ford also highlighted continued strong demand for its electric vehicle lineup, with 65 percent growth in the third quarter.
The targeted strike by the United Auto Workers union has also affected several assembly plants at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, leading to workforce reductions at all three companies.
Ford has announced another 500 layoffs across five parts plants as the union expands its strike at its largest plant, the Kentucky Truck Plant.
Company executives have indicated that a total of 4,600 layoffs could occur at several plants by the end of the week as the strike expands to the Kentucky Truck Plant.
To date, nearly 2,500 employees have been laid off, not including those involved in the production of the F-150 Lightning.
Workers affected by the strike are generally not eligible for unemployment benefits in most states.
Moreover, they are not entitled to a ‘sub-salary’ from their employer.
These combined sources typically account for 74 percent of their regular pay during their layoff.
However, the workers laid off from the F-150 Lightning production line are eligible for both unemployment benefits and sub-wages.
UAW President Shawn Fain has previously criticized the layoffs as an attempt to pressure union members to accept less, citing the companies’ record profits as evidence they could avoid layoffs.
Last month, President Biden joined striking workers on the picket line in Michigan, becoming the first sitting president to do so.
President Joe Biden speaks with striking United Auto Workers on the picket line outside the Willow Run Redistribution Center in Van Buren Township, Michigan
In September, President Joe Biden noted that workers had not been able to benefit from huge corporate profits, which for the three giants exceeded $20 billion in the first half of 2023.
“Record corporate profits – which they have – should be shared by recording contracts for the UAW,” he said at the White House.
Days later, Biden joined striking workers on the picket line in Michigan, becoming the first sitting president to do so.
Temperatures have risen at the bargaining table, with the UAW last week announcing an immediate strike at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, where some of the company’s most profitable models are built.
The action in Kentucky came after Ford talked about softening its economic offer “for two weeks,” UAW’s Fain said last Friday.
But when the two sides met, Ford offered the same terms as before, he added.