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Ford is slashing 7,000 white-collar jobs

Ford is slashing 7,000 white-collar jobs
The Ford logo on the grille of a 2019 F-150 pickup truck. (David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Ford Motor Co. said Monday that it is cutting about 7,000 white-collar jobs, equivalent to 10% of its global salaried workforce.

The company has said it was undertaking a major restructuring and that it will have trimmed thousands of jobs by August.

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The company said the plan will save about $600 million a year by eliminating bureaucracy and increasing the number of workers reporting to each manager.

In the United States, about 2,300 jobs will be cut through buyouts and layoffs. About 1,500 cuts have already been made and about 500 more workers will be let go this week, the company said.

In a memo to employees Monday, Chief Executive Jim Hackett said the fourth wave of the restructuring will start Tuesday, with the majority of cuts being finished by Friday.

“To succeed in our competitive industry, and position Ford to win in a fast-charging future, we must reduce bureaucracy, empower managers, speed decision making and focus on the most valuable work, and cost cuts,” Hackett wrote.

Most of Ford’s white-collar workers are in and around the company’s Dearborn, Mich., headquarters.

It’s the second set of layoffs for Detroit-area automakers, even though the companies are making healthy profits. Sales in the United States, where the automakers get most of their revenue, have fallen slightly but are still strong.

In November, General Motors announced that it would shed as many as 14,000 workers as it cut expenses to prepare for a shift to electric and autonomous vehicles. The layoffs included closure of five factories in the U.S. and Canada and cuts of about 8,000 white-collar workers worldwide. About 5,000 blue-collar positions were cut but most of the laid-off factory workers in the U.S. will be placed at other plants, mainly those that build trucks and SUVs.

Both companies have said the cuts are needed to prepare for the future, because the companies face huge capital expenditures to update their current vehicles and develop them for the future.

The GM cuts, especially the closing of a small-car factory in Lordstown, Ohio, brought withering criticism from President Trump and Congress. Trump campaigned on bringing factory jobs back to the industrial Midwest. GM has since announced a possible deal to sell the Lordstown plant to a start-up electric-vehicle maker, but it hasn’t been finalized.

Hackett said in the memo that Ford is departing from past practices and letting laid-off employees stay a few days to wrap up their jobs and say goodbye to colleagues. In the past, laid-off workers have had to pack up and leave immediately.

“Ford is a family company and saying goodbye to colleagues is difficult and emotional,” Hackett wrote.

Shares of Ford fell 1 cent, to $10.28.

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