Jun 30, 2008
Below are a series of articles that appeared in the SPARK Newsletter at the Ford Rouge Truck complex in Dearborn, Michigan, just west of Detroit, the week of June 23rd. Ford had just announced a vast range of production cutbacks and layoffs: shifts cut at three truck plants, as well as closing the Michigan Truck plant in Wayne for nine weeks, and the Dearborn Truck plant for 11 weeks.
Earlier in June, GM had announced it would be permanently closing four truck and SUV plants in the coming year. GM had already taken advantage of the 12-week American Axle strike to cut back inventory. And Chrysler extended its annual plant shutdowns at three truck and SUV plants, from two weeks, to five or seven weeks. Dodge Truck, in Warren Michigan, just north of Detroit, will be shut down through most of August.
Let's get something straight. The Ford executives themselves chose to have most of their North American vehicle operations geared to truck and SUV production.
They consciously decided to discontinue the production of the best selling car, the Taurus.
They created the conditions for crisis when the economy went down and gas prices went up.
This isn't a just a Ford thing. GM and Chrysler have made the same decisions. And contrary to what the media and the companies are crying about now, Ford, GM and Chrysler have made billions over the years. More accurately, WE have made billions for them by our labor over the years.
In the past 11 years, Ford alone spent at least 30 billion dollars to buy up or increase its investments in 22 companies or plants in other countries.
The Big 3 took their profits from auto and used them to buy up military contractors, agricultural implement companies, banks, and finance companies, instead of investing in car production.
We are the ones who made them rich by all the work we have done. And now they are proposing to take away our jobs and our job security?!
It's outrageous. The top five Ford executives can give back the 60 million dollars they raked in in 2007, starting with Mulally giving up his 23 million dollars. All of the top management who are responsible for these stupid business decisions can give back the millions in bonuses they were given.
People who came here from out of state were made false promises. They were uprooted half way across the country, relocated their entire families, and bought homes, because they were told that this was a secure place to be.
In a court of law, this is known as "fraud."
Even as recently as this spring, workers with more seniority than many of the workers here at the Truck plant have come here. And now workers who have been here for years may get laid off.
It's not like other workers came in here to take our jobs. It is the company that has shut plants, cut production, eliminated shifts, and sold Visteon. The company is responsible for taking our jobs. Not the workers from Wixom, or Sheldon Road or Saline or Monroe.
We are all in this together. We all need jobs. And we won't get them unless we stand together.