Ford: Flat Rock workers to be offered job transfers

Keith Laing
The Detroit News

Correction:  Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant workers will be offered jobs at other Ford facilities, most likely in Southeast Michigan. This story has been updated to reflect this. 

Ford Motor Co. has filed notice with the state of Michigan to lay off 1,012 hourly and salaried workers at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant around April 1. But Ford said all full-time workers will be offered jobs at other plants, with about half being transferred to the Livonia Transmission Plant.

The Flat Rock facility, where the Lincoln Continental and Ford Mustang are built, currently has 3,510 workers, according to Ford's website.

According to the notice filed Jan. 25, Ford is planning to lay off 560 hourly non-skilled workers, 460 hourly non-skilled temporary employees and 12 salaried employees at Flat Rock. 

Kelli Felker, global manufacturing and labor communications manager at Ford, said 500 of the displaced workers are expected to be moved to Livonia Transmission, which builds transmissions for a number of vehicles, including the popular Ford F-150 and Ford Ranger. 

The remainder will be offered jobs at other Ford facilities, most likely in Southeast Michigan, Felker said.

Ford is separately moving 500 jobs from its Louisville Assembly plan to its Kentucky Truck Plant in a bid to increase Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator production. 

Felker said the moves are part of an effort announced in November to shift focus from cars to in-demand trucks and SUVs. The Flat Rock plant builds the Lincoln Continental and Ford Mustang, and will move to a single shift in the spring.

"To meet strong customer demand for our full-size SUVs and trucks, Ford is rebalancing production at some of our U.S. plants, further increasing our efficiency while retaining jobs for all full-time hourly employees," she said in an email. 

The Flat Rock facility currently has 3,510 workers, according to Ford's website. 

The news comes as crosstown-rival General Motors began the process of laying off more than 4,000 salaried employees on Monday.

Both automakers are deep in restructuring efforts that have included cuts to hourly and salaried workers. Ford's restructuring is expected to cost the automaker $11 billion. 

The reduction in GM's salaried workforce, which will be cut by 15 percent this year or by roughly 8,000 positions, is part of a larger restructuring of the automaker's global operations. Also included in the effort are plans to cut the global executive workforce by 25 percent and indefinitely idle five North American manufacturing plants later this year.

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