Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Finally, Ford brings some jobs back to the Rust Belt. “Made in America” is back. This week, a Ford plant in Flat Rock, Michigan (about 25 miles south of the now bankrupt Detroit) began producing the high-demand sedan in addition to its existing production of the popular and iconic Ford sports car, the Mustang.
The plant hired another 1,400 workers in order to produce the new model of the Fusion, which was revamped just this last year. This is the first time that the Ford Fusion has been produced in the United States.
Until recently, the Ford Fusion was largely being produced at a plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, located about 250 miles south of Tucson, Arizona. But in the last year, demand for the Fusion has gone up 13%, making it one of the hottest selling cars in the country and in need of some more production, hence the expansion of the Flat Rock plant. The popular car is currently being sold about 2 weeks after it is produced in the plant, blowing away the industry average.
Glimmer of Hope
This may be the first sign of a revitalization of the Midwest as an auto manufacturing center, but it will be quite some time before we know for sure. At any rate, the fact that Ford is bringing some of its manufacturing jobs back to the United States is encouraging on many levels. Firstly, it shows some level of economic improvement, as citizens are buying more cars to the point that production needs to be increased.
In addition, it means that the auto giant Ford is doing better, as it is more willing to pay the wages demanded by American automotive manufacturing unions instead of the $2-3/hour wages currently provided in countries like Mexico. But this is not as big of a difference as it once was. A 2007 agreement with the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) made it legal for new auto workers to be paid at half the rate of veterans in the same position, lowering wages for new employees to about $15/ hour. And, probably not coincidentally, about 1,200 of the plant’s 1,400 workers are brand new to the business.
Some may be a bit upset about this drastic cut in wages for new auto workers, but it definitely has its upsides. Namely: jobs are coming back to the United States. This cut in wages, though it doesn’t necessarily treat new workers to a handsome starting salary, will help on several levels with economic stimulation, as more and more Americans are earning wages and spending power. Other companies, such as General Motors, have brought some manufacturing back to the United States as well.
Moving production of the Ford Fusion to this plant in Flat Rock, Michigan also helps Ford to move closer to satisfying an agreement that the company made with the UAW to hire 12,000 hourly workers by 2015. Ford is now about ¾ of the way to reaching that goal with the new hire of 1,200 plant workers.
John Monts is a professional blogger who is also currently a student at UC Davis, studying Political Science and Economics. He is a part of the content creation team at www.Glass-Clinic.com.