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Ford To Cut North America, Asia Salaried Workers By 10 Percent (reuters.com) 129

Ford is planning a major round of layoffs that will cut up to 20,000 jobs around the world, according to reports published Monday. From a report: Ford plans to shrink its salaried workforce in North America and Asia by about 10 percent as it works to boost profits and its sliding stock price, a source familiar with the plan told Reuters. A person briefed on the plan said Ford plans to offer generous early retirement incentives to reduce its salaried headcount by Oct. 1, but does not plan cuts to its hourly workforce or its production. The move could put the U.S. automaker on a collision course with President Donald Trump, who has made boosting auto employment a top priority. Ford has about 30,000 salaried workers in the United States. The cuts are part of a previously announced plan to slash costs by $3 billion, the person said, as U.S. new vehicles auto sales have shown signs of decline after seven years of consecutive growth since the end of the Great Recession.

Ford To Cut North America, Asia Salaried Workers By 10 Percent

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  • "as it works to boost profits and its sliding stock price,"

    Ugh... why can't businesses go back to the model of taking care of their employees and figuring out how to build better products to increase profits and their stock instead of always going for the short-term solution of axing payroll....

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Because the companies that followed that model all went out of business. The ones that are left are the ones that were willing to make the hard decisions to increase the value to the owners.
      • Re:Ugh... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @04:54PM (#54429165)

        "The hard decisions to increase value to owners" is more often than not increasing short-term gains at the expense of the company's long-term future. Look at the current slow disintegration of Sears/KMart as it's being slowly gutted instead of finding new ways of making long-term profits or keeping Americans employed. Granted, brick-and-mortar has seen its day, but the really important decisions would be the ones that steered them towards newer growth, not shambling like a zombie until finally all the bits have rotted off and the whole thing collapses forever.

        It might be remembered that incorporation is not some sort of inalienable right. Corporate charters are granted by governments, and governments themselves are not supposed to be money-making entities, but rather for the profit of their citizens in many ways, not all of them recordable in dollars and cents. At the moment, a corporate charter can be granted for virtually any legal activity, profit-making or not, but when corporations begin to act to the detriment of their grantors, perhaps it might be advisable to re-think the chartering process.

        When you can get a charter that allows you to employ people at rates that make them a drain on your own resources - for example, Wal-Mart's Welfare Employees - or the many cases where a company demands major tax concessions, then outsources, then perhaps the charter should be re-considered.

        • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

          While incorporation charters perhaps grant too many advantages today compared to individuals, private organizations really have no obligation to provide welfare for a population. So whether or not they're interested in long-term profitability or just short-term pilfering of what's left (before the house collapses) is really their own decision.

          That being said, incorporation should probably be rethought as it grants incorporated organizations far too many legal and tax preferential treatment compared to indiv

        • If you really believe that the secret to success is having lots of employees and paying them well, then you should be able to get rich by starting such a business. Or you can invest in companies that do that, while shorting companies that focus on automation, streamlining and outsourcing. Good luck. So far the evidence is not on your side.

          Your "short term" vs "long term" argument is also not backed by evidence. Walmart has been lean and paid low wages for 55 years. They aren't bankrupt yet. Meanwhile,

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Actually there is plenty of evidence that good wages and long term employment benefits companies. Japan has more old (50+ year) companies than any other country. Western investors often undervalue them because they see high wage bills and too many employees, but Japanese companies consider those things to be assets.

            Those businesses survive for all those decades because they invest in people. They consider employment to be one of their primary functions. Their employees are more loyal and willing to pitch in

          • by shmlco ( 594907 )

            Tell that to Costco. Living wages and benefits... and still growing.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          Well you're jumping a bit from microeconomics to macroeconomics there. In microeconomics you assume that it's an open system, you can pick whatever products, services, markets and employees etc. you want and the rest will go somewhere else and do something different. In macroeconomics you have - except for a marginal immigration and emigration - a closed system. If you create a system only for the best and the brightest, the rest won't just "disappear" they'll be unemployed, welfare recipients, criminals or

        • I like where you are headed with that idea. Put in a more succinct way, companies that choose to "go public" should be required to operate in the best interest of the public rather than investors.

          Investors should be investing in companies where they feel comfortable putting their money at risk. Requiring companies to operate in a way to mitigate that risk or to operate in a way that intends to apply the maximum benefit to these investors has always seemed silly to me. Companies should be operating in a w
        • Sears was dead to me the Sunday I needed a new car battery but the "Auto Department" was now closed on Sundays. It was infuriating to see the exact battery I needed sitting on a shelf but not being able to buy it because the department is now closed on Sunday.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        You mean they all got corporate raided back in the 80's to get broken up for the cash they were holding, because they were profitable. The ones that were left had to pay danegeld, or had to dig themselves out of leveraged buy outs (where the raider uses YOUR assets as collateral for a loan to buy your company, in order to squeeze all the cash out).

        Is it any wonder that there are few publicly held companies left which actually care about consumers or employees anymore?

        "Activist" investors are just corporate

      • The ones that are left are the ones that were willing to make the hard decisions to increase the value to the owners.

        I'm sure it doesn't hurt that the people making those hard decisions will (I'm sure) get big bonuses at the expense of others.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Because consumers have to pay the wages. Auto makers have to hold onto employees well-beyond their usefulness because of union contracts, and you have to pay the charity that keeps those people benched instead of out working other jobs making stuff you're buying with the money you're not spending on cars.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Because consumers have to pay the wages. Auto makers have to hold onto employees well-beyond their usefulness because of union contracts, and you have to pay the charity that keeps those people benched instead of out working other jobs making stuff you're buying with the money you're not spending on cars.

        Or that keeps them on welfare, because whatever jobs remain pay so poorly that they cannot themselves spend money on cars, Assuming that they can find jobs at all.

        Wealth doesn't trickle down as we've had 35+ years to see, but poverty bubbles up very quickly indeed. If the workers are unemployed, not only are they not going to go out and buy cars, they're not going to be buying much of anything else. They're going to be in arrears on their debts. They'll neglect their discretionary medical expenses (this is

      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        Because consumers have to pay the wages. Auto makers have to hold onto employees well-beyond their usefulness because of union contracts, and you have to pay the charity that keeps those people benched instead of out working other jobs making stuff you're buying with the money you're not spending on cars.

        No, no, no and no. It's simple Ford can't compete in the market. Look around and see what brands vehicles people are driving. Consumers are choosing the competition. It's the free market at work.

        • No, wrong problem. The question was:

          why can't businesses go back to the model of taking care of their employees and figuring out how to build better products to increase profits

          "Taking care of their employees" means keeping people on payroll ("instead of always going for the short-term solution of axing payroll"), paying higher wages, paying increased benefits, and so forth.

          You point out that Ford can't compete in the market. Remember 2004? Remember when Ford tried to close 10 factories due to a lack of demand for cars, and the UAT forced them to bench the workers? Ford was trying to run a round of layoffs, and was legally-obligated to i

          • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

            No, wrong problem. The question was:

            why can't businesses go back to the model of taking care of their employees and figuring out how to build better products to increase profits

            Same answer: not competitive. Taking care of employees requires money meaning positive cash flow. Better products (read more marketable products) are required to do that because products are exchanged for money. Business 101. Your problem is you start with "taking care of employees" you don't start with the foundation required to support the company. Anything not built on a solid foundation will fail regardless of the merits of the idealism it may have been founded on. Idealism doesn't keep companies

    • by Anonymous Coward

      figuring out how to build better products

      Ford.

      Do you want them to manufacture wheelbarrows?

      • This meme needs to stop, they've made pretty fucking good cars for at least the past 10+ years. All of the major brands (domestic, Asian -- even Korean) have pretty much reached parity in quality.

        • All of the major brands (domestic, Asian -- even Korean) have pretty much reached parity in quality.

          In terms of customer satisfaction, Tesla is out in front. Considering the price, they ought to be. Fiat is the worst. Ford does pretty well.

          I have a Honda Odyssey Minivan, and I am very happy with it. My wife has a Tesla and is very happy with it.

          Here are the rankings [consumerreports.org]:

          1 Tesla 91%
          2 Porsche 84%
          3 Audi 77%
          4 Subaru 76%
          5 Toyota 76%
          6 Honda 75%
          7 Mazda 74%
          8 Chrysler 73%
          9 Chevrolet 73%
          10 Lexus 73%
          11 GMC 73%
          12 Lincoln 73%
          13 Hyundai 73%
          14

    • Because greedy shareholders.
      • So. Become a shareholder (along with millions of other people who, like you know better) and then have a say in how the company works.

        One million people like you who put in a dollar a day into such a great fund could do wonders. You could change the world. You could be the change you're looking for.

        Carpe Diem muthaf**ker.
        • That is the stupidity behind direct democratic voting. In a sufficiently large system (e.g. The US) special interests and factions (parties) will control the options, robbing all power from the populace. It applies equally to stock ownership. Special Interests (read: activist investor groups) and the company board (parties) control the debate and more importantly, the available options. Democracy is overrated bullshit at scale, just like every prior system of governance (e.g. Communism works great on the sm
    • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

      Not every business is able to "build better products to increase profits". A lot of things are out of one individual business' control. For instance, the overall health of the economy has a huge impact on consumer spending. And things like government trade policy are, for the most part, out of the control of Ford.

      Companies that are able to weather such changes are ones who are willing to cut workforce when the going gets tough and hire when the going is good.

      Companies that stick to a myopic "gotta take care

      • Re:Ugh... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @05:18PM (#54429363)

        Well, maybe the answer is to stop pretending that companies can - or should - 'take care' of their employees any more. A good start would be to adopt universal health and unemployment insurance, so that companies aren't dragged down by a government expectation that they will provide those things - when their foreign competitors can rely on their governments to provide them. Of course that ignores your bit about loyal employees - which are certainly worth something...

        Still, if you're 'pro business' in this country you're also expected to be 'anti government'. The two don't add up. The best way to have a strong middle class is to have good, well-paying jobs and secure benefits. And the best way to have healthy companies is to have a strong middle class to buy their products. But in this country at this time, we have the worst of both. And a weak middle class produces a viscous circle of need for government safety net programs to deal with the carnage.

        • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

          I agree. But it's quite a big step to go from corporate welfare to decoupled government welfare + market economy. There's just too much ideology in the US to make that happen.

          There's also the argument that corporate welfare is more efficient than government welfare -- that is, the benefits of "taking care of people" provided by private companies can be better than that provided by government for the same price. There can be some merit there.

          I like Australia's model where the government provides a basic safe

        • > maybe the answer is to stop pretending that companies can - or should - 'take care' of their employees any more.

          That's good in theory, but in practice who is going to pay for it?

          I'm not say it is not doable -- but we need to face reality here.

          Still, we need to start having these discussions and figure out realistic compromises because the existing system isn't working.

          > Still, if you're 'pro business' in this country you're also expected to be 'anti government'. The two don't add up.

          That's incorrect

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          A good start would be to adopt universal health and unemployment insurance, so that companies aren't dragged down by a government expectation that they will provide those things

          Businesses have to pay for for it one way or another. If the government provides it, then it will be cheaper overall, but will still be paid for out of taxation. That means either taxes directly on the business, or taxes it indirectly has to pay through higher wages etc.

          Businesses need to stop thinking about tax as something to dodge at all cost, and start working with government to make sure that they get what they need in return, i.e. educated, healthy workers and infrastructure.

          • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

            I like the taxes approach because it affects profits, not revenue. Meanwhile, having to provide healthcare for every full-time employee is a large drain on revenue. So a business can be in the negative and still have healthcare be a drain on their bottom line.

            Taxes also work as a distribution of wealth from large, successful businesses to small struggling businesses. Basically, the government is providing a baseline and everyone who is successful goes above that baseline.

        • You're demonstrating why having government take care of everything is a bad idea. "Hey, health care is expensive so lets bury it in a government budget so we don't have to think about it! Problem solved!"

          This eventually comes back to bite you. Government has little incentive to do things efficiently or effectively since there are no real corrective forces short of catastrophic failure.

          • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

            The same could be said of many private markets, including the current US healthcare market. In some markets, there's simply a lot of collectivism. Utilities fall into this category. And with current must-treat-if-sick laws, so does healthcare.

            Private markets tend to work pretty poorly for industries that need collectivist actions. Healthcare (at least basic healthcare, not specialized research) is one of them.

        • by Tom ( 822 )

          Well, maybe the answer is to stop pretending that companies can - or should - 'take care' of their employees any more.

          Why?

          Because competitors in other countries do it? Are these countries that you would rather live in? Maybe there is a connection between those things?

          We need to stop having competition on uneven playing fields. Of course some child in Bangladesh can undercut your hourly rate. That's because it's a child, there's no workplace safety at all, you can get a meal for one dollar and a flat for a hundred, and a dozen other reasons.

          But instead of all of us going to the lowest common denominator, maybe we should go

    • The biggest examples of that are the car companies which are now under crushing debt from legacy pension plans. Why, it's almost as if that model was unsustainable pipe dreams pushed by the Union bosses and CEOs, and all of the responsible parties on both sides of the equation having got theirs and retired.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Well, in a nutshell because the effective discount rate for expected future performance is high for stocks.

      Now it doesn't mean that people don't invest in assets that they hope to make a killing on after a few years, but GM stock ain't that kind of asset. It's supposed to pay quarterly dividends so if you're a stockholder you're very interested in how much cash GM has on hand next quarter, probably more interested than whether it will be doing well four years from now. For investors, timing is everything [wikipedia.org].

    • "as it works to boost profits and its sliding stock price,"

      Ugh... why can't businesses go back to the model of taking care of their employees and figuring out how to build better products to increase profits and their stock instead of always going for the short-term solution of axing payroll....

      One word... Unions .

  • I'm not exactly sure how this is nerd news. There's no mention of advanced technology drivetrains, or self-driving vehicles, or even robots taking our jerbs.

    This is a pretty typical corporate strategy to reduce expenditures, and if it's based on things like wilful retirement bonuses and severance bonuses for those not eligible for retirement yet, then it's pretty benign and almost a non-story even in business circles. It's a way to reduce the number of top earners without generating a lot of ill-will, peo

    • by imgod2u ( 812837 )

      It's not really tech significant. But it is a significant economic indicator of the auto industry. The boom of car buying seems to be coming to a halt.

      • there was a very modest uptick from a decade of horrifically bad sales. But every article I've read has said new car buying is way, way down. I just bought a used car and had to pay damn near new because there's not a lot of inventory. Nobody buying new, so nobody selling used (unless you count stuff that's 10+ years old).
      • by TWX ( 665546 )

        New cars have at least kept-pace with the inflation in personal income, and on top of that there's a lot more other competing things that people feel they have to have. In the late seventies you had electricity, phone, rent or mortgage, possibly natural gas, municipal utilities like water and sewer, and probably some insurance. Now you still have all of those, plus pay-TV, Internet, cell phone in addition to or replacing regular land line phone. You've added 20% more expenses, it makes sense that somthin

    • I'm not exactly sure how this is nerd news.

      Shouldn't nerds take an interest in things going on in the world? And is it not natural then to discuss these things in whichever forums attract many people like yourself? Despite the sort of comments you come across on /. from time to time, most of the readership is above average intelligent, and intelligent people are also interested in what happens in the world outside their narrow interest.

      This is a pretty typical corporate strategy to reduce expenditures, and if it's based on things like wilful retirement bonuses and severance bonuses for those not eligible for retirement yet, then it's pretty benign and almost a non-story even in business circles. It's a way to reduce the number of top earners without generating a lot of ill-will, people get to retire early, they get some bonus for it, generally most employees aren't unhappy with the arrangement.

      I don't think it is a good thing for society, pushing people into what is effectively early retirement. Those top-e

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @04:08PM (#54428821)
    If they want to avoid the ire of our President when they only lay off Americans. It sounds like I'm joking but I'm not - this is the type of perverse unintended consequences that government intervention brings.
  • So, ICE sales are dropping all over the world,but EVs, esp Tesla, are rising fast.
    I have to wonder if the car makers executives will understand that they really have to jump on this and make changes NOW.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The move could put the U.S. automaker on a collision course with President Donald Trump, who has made boosting auto employment a top priority.

    Comrade Trump wants to plan the economy, but the poor guy is nearly a century late for the Bolshevik revolution. People are probably wondering why Republicans nominated what would turn out to be the furthest-left president since FDR. It started like this...

    Republicans used to try to trick voters into thinking they were conservatives, because Democrats were trying to

  • When I hear of cases like this (people getting fired but production being kept the same) I always want to hear about some of the management being fired too. Not only because heartless nature. Management has let the company get overstaffed and have been doing nothing about it. I know that Ford is a large company but surely managers must have noticed having too many people on the shifts or in the offices. Either that or the systems for monitoring don't exist or aren't working.

    But by having these extra 20,0

  • It's OK (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2017 @05:02PM (#54429223) Homepage Journal

    Don't worry, they'll all get jobs as game developers and social media apprentices.

  • I wonder if they are going to cut jobs at plants that got grants in exchange for keeping so many jobs. If so I want some of the grant money back.

  • Get state governors to give Ford tax breaks to keep the employees and (effectively) let the employees pay for their own jobs - like Pence did in Indiana for Carrier. Problem solved. /sarcasm

  • But Trump said he'd make all those big companies keep their jobs here! Don't tell me he was fibbing!

  • What happened to the world that layoffs became equivalent with increasing profits? One generation ago, layoffs were a sign that a company was in serious trouble, profits were down and growth was negative. Layoffs were what the directors did if the alternative was to file for bancruptcy. They would be a bad message for investors and stock price would drop. Mass layoffs were a typical sign of a company about to fold.

    Today, by the logic of investors, you should fire all your workforce to increase profits to in

  • Ford Exec A to Ford Exec B: "Hey, let's give even more money to people who do no work for us at all, by getting rid of people who actually do work for us!" Exec B to Exec A: "Brilliant! That should help our stock price temporarily, until reality sets in, and we have to find people to do the actual work again." Exec A to Exec B: "We'll just outsource those jobs to low-wage countries, further undermining the US economy, but who cares?!? Some trust-fund brats will make EVEN MORE MONEY DOING NOTHING!!" Exec
  • Was due to the fact Obama had that stupid "cash for clunkers" program. People traded in cars that were destroyed, eliminating the used (sorry pre-owned) car market. In a few years, people traded in cars, boosting the used car market, and propping up the new car market. Now, people are starting to hang onto their cars for 6,7 years or more. Plus, the NEW cars, even the so called "cheap" ones, are in the 20,000 dollar range! My dad was a car salesman for over 30 years. In the sixties, you could by a BRAND
  • Or did the media events on how he saves jobs lost their mojo?

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