Ford to add 1,550 new jobs for F-150 production

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. said Wednesday it will add 1,550 jobs — 650 of those in Michigan — through March.

As a result, 300-500 hourly workers at three plants outside Michigan will receive raises, the automaker said. That's because Ford already has exceeded the number of second-tier hourly workers it's allowed under its contract with the United Auto Workers.

Ford's announcement came days after the UAW confirmed 55 hourly Ford workers will receive pay raises this week. Those 55 are counted in the figures Ford announced Wednesday.

Of the 1,550 new jobs, 500 will be added at Dearborn Stamping and Dearborn Diversified; 150 jobs will go to Sterling Axle; and 900 will go to Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant. All will support production of the 2015 F-150.

All of the new hires have already been identified, Ford said. They will fill various positions in the plants and will start work by the end of March.

Dearborn Truck Plant recently added a third shift to make the aluminum-bodied F-150, and Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant recently installed the new equipment needed to build it.

"The fact that we're focusing on is that we're hiring more people, and the reason we're hiring more people is to support sales of the truck," said Bill Dirksen, Ford's vice president of labor affairs. "That's a good thing for our business."

Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president and director, National Ford Department, said in a statement, "This is very exciting news and these additional jobs will have an impact in communities all across our nation. This also represents a major milestone for employees hired under the entry-level agreement, as many will now begin to convert to 'new traditional' wage status, as negotiated in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement."

The 300-500 workers who will move up to top wage status will go from earning about $19 an hour to $28 an hour.

Those getting the raises will be the most senior second-tier workers at Ford's Kansas City, Chicago and Louisville manufacturing facilities.

It marks the first time that any of the union's members have moved up to a higher pay scale since it agreed to two-tier wages in 2007; General Motors Co. and FCA US LLC don't have cap limits.

"They will experience some progression that's long been talked about but hasn't happened until now," Dirksen said.

Under the contract with the UAW, Ford is allowed to hire 20 percent of its workforce at a second-tier wage, excluding some workers at certain plants whose jobs were created by moving work in-house. It recently surpassed that cap after adding more than 5,000 hourly jobs across its U.S. manufacturing facilities last year.

Ford has hired more than 15,000 hourly UAW members since 2011, exceeding its goal of creating 12,000 hourly jobs in the United States by 2015.

Ford said Tuesday that last month was the best-selling January for its F-Series trucks since 2004. Ford said the new aluminum-bodied pickup represented 18 percent of F-150 sales.

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