DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. will offer buyout and early-retirement plans to its all hourly US employees -- more than 75,000 -- as part of a broad restructuring plan aimed at cutting costs in light of slumping sales.
Ford had about 82,000 workers represented by the United Auto Workers at the end of last year, but about 6,500 have taken previous buyout and early-retirement offers made mainly at plants slated for closure, company spokeswoman Marcey Evans said yesterday.
The news came a day before the nation's second-biggest automaker was to reveal details of a restructuring plan that likely will include massive job cuts and additional plant closures.
The buybacks are aimed at helping Ford cut costs as its sales shrink under fierce competition from more fuel-efficient models from Asian automakers.
The UAW provided the proposal to its members yesterday, saying the offers are available to all active Ford workers represented by the union.
``Once again, our members are stepping up to make hard choices under difficult circumstances," UAW president Ron Gettelfinger said. ``Now, it's Ford Motor Co.'s responsibility to lead this company in a positive direction -- which means using the skills, experience, and dedication to quality that UAW members demonstrate every day in order to deliver quality vehicles to customers."
The buyouts are part of a larger restructuring plan approved by the Ford board of directors during a two-day meeting that ended yesterday. Ford said it would disclose details of the new plan this morning.