Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

23 January, 2006

Ford Motors plays "Grinch" to Detroit's Super Sunday

Coming less than 24 hours after the Seattle Seahawks (go 'Hawks!) and Pittsburgh Steelers confirm their reservations to Detroit, the city gets this news:
Ford Motor Co. announced today that it will cut as many as 30,000 jobs and shut down 14 factories to help reverse losses in its troubled North American automotive division.

The restructuring announcement came shortly after Ford reported a higher than anticipated 19 percent increase in earnings for 2005. The results included a pre-tax loss of $1.6 billion in its North American automotive division in the fourth quarter, a decline of $3 billion from 2004.

Ford, which employs about 123,000 workers in North America, lost about $5.5 billion in those North America operations in 2005. The restructuring will eliminate about a quarter of those jobs between now and 2012.

With the job cuts announced today, salary-related costs are being reduced 10 percent in North America with the previously announced reduction of the equivalent of 4,000 salaried positions by the end of the first quarter. The company's officer ranks also will be trimmed 12 percent by the end of the first quarter.

Detroit has been hyping the February 5 Super Bowl as an economic boon for the city. However, any jobs that are created as a result of a successful Super Bowl weekend translating into increased tourism (a big what-if, in my book) are likely to be in the relatively low-wage service sector jobs. This is hardly going to resurrect a city that is still bleeding the good-paying, blue-collar, middle-class factory jobs that the auto industry, and more significantly, the United Auto Workers created during the mid-20th Century.

The Super Bowl was supposed to be a bright spot for Detroit. However, it'll be hard for me to enjoy a game being played at Ford Field knowing that the livelihoods of 30,000 people are about to be cruelly taken in the name of profit.

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