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Ford Cuts 10,000 Workers, Closes Two Factories

In a round of new closings and layoffs, The Ford Motor Company announced Friday the elimination of 10,000 white-collar jobs and two more plant closings, up to 16 from previous cuts. Guests discuss the drastic efforts to save the automaker, effects on its workers and the flagging U.S. auto industry.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    It's the end of the line for tens of thousands of Ford workers. Executives at the nation's number-two automaker announced they were slashing a third of the company's salaried jobs; that's in addition to offering buyouts to all of its 75,000 hourly workers.

    It's part of the latest plan to turn the ailing company around, according to Ford's president of the Americas, Mark Fields, who spoke at a morning teleconference.

  • MARK FIELDS, Exec. Vice President, Ford Motor Co.:

    The simple fact is that the business model that served us in North America for decades no longer works. We must change to a new business model that delivers greater bottom-line contributions from cars and crossovers, continued leadership in pickups, new products that drive revenue, and actions that move rapidly to reduce our costs to achieve profitability.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Fields also confirmed Ford would idle two more two plants — one in Ohio, another in Canada — for a total of 16 plant closures by 2008. It's the second time since January that Ford has moved to reduce its workforce, scale back production, and ramp up new products, all as part of its so-called "way forward" plan to return North American operations to profit.

    Just last week, Bill Ford stepped down as CEO and was succeeded by former Boeing executive Alan Mulally. Ford remains chairman of the company, which lost $1.44 billion during the first half of this year.

    The new cuts at Ford would reduce its total North American workforce by 29 percent, from the current level of about 130,000 to about 92,000 by the end of 2008. The shake-up has left employees rattled.

  • JIM COX, Ford Employee:

    I've been over there for 13 years, so now what do I do? Do I start looking for a job now?

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Under the terms of the voluntary buyout plan, which the United Autoworkers Union agreed to yesterday, workers will choose options that pay them between $35,000 and $140,000 to leave the company. Those who opt for the more generous packages would have to give up their health benefits.

    Dearborn, Michigan, Ford plant employee Brent Orr has worked for the company for 12 years.

  • BRENT ORR, Ford Plant Employee:

    I'm probably going to take a buyout, one of the buyouts that they're offering, just because they've redlined our trade. No more carpenters will ever be hired at Ford Motor Company ever again.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    Ford, like other American automakers, has been battered by the car market's rapid shift from Ford's staple — trucks and sport utility vehicles — to more fuel-efficient foreign cars, as gas prices have soared.

    Earlier this year, number-one automaker General Motors offered buyouts to its hourly staff, and about one in three, or 34,000, took the company up on the deal.

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