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Softening U.S. Economy Affects Ford and Its Workers

The struggling U.S. economy is playing a strong role in what’s playing out between Ford Motor Company and its workers. Of the company’s six-thousand union workers in Louisville, fewer than 450 chose to take the company’s latest buyout offer, which ended yesterday.The Center for Automotive Research’s Chairman, David Cole, says the soft national economy is causing more workers to feel insecure about their chances outside the company. But – he says – the soft economy is also affecting how Ford Motor Company has to look at their situation."Ford is in a position where they have no choice but to pare their workforce, shrink their production capacity and do that rather quickly. This is really amplified by the soft market today and all of the uncertainties. They’ve got to move on to plan b relatively quickly in terms of layoffs, or cuts or whatever," said Cole.Cole says it remains certain that Louisville will play a major production role in the company’s future – he says many workers here may be holding out for those changes.