Auto/Economy
4:35 pm
Thu December 9, 2010

Ford To Hire New Workers at Louisville Plant - At New (Lower) Wage

Ford Motor Company says it will add 1,800 workers at its Louisville Assembly Plant, once that plant is renovated. Ford is moving production of the Escape SUV to the plant.

Ford already moved production of the Explorer SUV, the Louisville plant's former product, to Chicago. Now, the Louisville facility will undergo a complete renovation, resulting in what Ford's Jim Tetrault says will be the company's most flexible, high-volume plant in the world.

"We'll remove basically everything down to the walls and pillars," says Tetrault, who is Ford's Vice President of North American Manufacturing. "We're going to build a completely new body shop, paint shop, final assembly will be all new. By the time we're done we'll have invested 600 million dollars in this plant."

Making the plant "flexible," means the plant can fit in production of additional models, or add a line to build cars in high demand when the plant that usually builds those cars can't build them any faster.

Ford will add a second shift after the renovation. There are already 1,100 workers at the plant. Workers brand-new to Ford will be paid half the regular wage.

Ford expects to hire about 1,000 workers total at the lower, so-called tier 2, wage, either at the Louisville plant, or at other plants to take the place of workers that choose to return to Louisville at the higher wage.

The UAW agreed to the split wage structure in 2007 to help Detroit's automakers compete with foreign automakers.