Ford cuts shifts at factories in Kentucky and Michigan, but keeps jobs

  • Ford is cutting a shift at Louisville Assembly Plant and Flat Rock Assembly Plant.
  • The automaker says it is moving some workers to other plants but is not cutting any jobs.
An employee works on a Ford Expedition sports utility vehicle on the assembly line at the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An employee works on a Ford Expedition sports utility vehicle on the assembly line at the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ford is cutting a shift at two of its plants, but the automaker is avoiding layoffs by moving workers to other facilities, the company said Wednesday.

The automaker is shifting about 500 workers from its Louisville Assembly plant to its Kentucky Truck Plant — both in Kentucky — to increase production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, which are both experiencing strong sales.

It will also move 500 jobs from its Flat Rock Assembly Plant to its Livonia Transmission plant, which makes transmissions for several vehicles, including its F-150 full-size pickup and the Ranger, a midsize pickup Ford is reintroducing after 8 years. Both plants are in Michigan.

Ford makes the Ford Escape and the Lincoln MKC, both compact crossover vehicles, at the Louisvile Assembly plant, and the Mustang sports car at Flat Rock.

Higher demand for pricey pickups and SUVs have helped automakers, particularly American ones, weather falling sales this year. Ford is especially strong in larger pickups and SUVs. Ford Expedition sales in October increased 36 percent from one year ago, while Lincoln Navigator rose more than 80 percent over the same month in 2017. At the same time, sales of the Escape fell 7 percent, the MKC 8.5 percent, and the Mustang 6 percent.

"Our collectively bargained contract provides for the placement of all members displaced by the shift reduction and, after working with Ford, we are confident that all impacted employees will have the opportunity to work at nearby facilities," said United Auto Workers Union Vice President Rory Gamble.

General Motors came under fire this week after announcing it was winding down production at five plants in the U.S. and Canada and cutting 14,000 jobs. President Donald Trump was irate with GM, tweeting on Tuesday that he was "very disappointed" with the company and CEO Mary Barra for idling plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland.

"Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get," Trump tweeted. He also threatened to cut all of the company's federal subsidies, following up on Wednesday with the announcement that the administration was studying all tariffs on cars imported to the U.S. because of the "G.M. event."

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