May 23, 2005
Ford Motor Co., well satisfied with its first maneuver to steal wages and benefits from workers in its parts plants, is now launching a second maneuver to steal even more.
On May 19, Ford said it would buy back up to 15 parts plants that it had put under the name of Visteon five years ago. Most of these plants are to be put into a separate holding company, fully controlled by Ford.
By making these plants a legally separate entity, Ford and Visteon expect to junk the workers' prior contractual protections. This worked well for Ford five years ago, when it moved these plants from the Ford to the Visteon name and then imposed two-tier wage and benefit scales, cutting new hires' pay in half. Now Ford is setting up that same scheme again, expecting to swindle workers out of even more money.
Of course the ground has been prepared by a steady stream of publicity about Ford's and Visteon's supposed financial crises, including Bill Ford's own declaration that he would accept no salary until things improved – easy enough for him to live on his bonuses and dividends! And Visteon constantly declares that it is close to bankruptcy – the better to put pressure on workers to accept the idea that half a loaf is better than none, when Ford demands further wage and benefit cuts from employees spun off into the new holding company.
Of course it's not necessary that workers accept anything less than a full loaf. Behind the accounting that is adjusted for public view, Ford's big shareholders revel in more money than they know what to do with. There's no need for workers to agree to add more to it!
Moreover, since all of that money was coined from workers' labor, it would be only right and proper for the workers to demand some of it back – as much as they need.