Monday, January 23, 2006

Ford's "Way Forward": Another Great Leap?

It was announced today that Ford Motor Company will be canning as many as thirty thousand people over the next 6 years. NPR said this morning that such a number represents about 20% of their workforce. The stated objective of the cuts is to offset a $1.6 billion loss in domestic sales.

I hate to poop on Ford, as I understand they typically treat their employees a little better than many other companies, but this is a raw deal for the workers. For one, Ford is actually still profitable; the losses they sustained domestically are more than offset by good profits abroad. Second, if the losses are anyone's fault, it's the fault of people at the top of the company, not the bottom, but it's the plant workers lining up at the unemployment office. Not to mention the fact that Ford is one of many companies facing massive pension debts, meaning Ford workers may not get their retirement money.

Thus it's worth asking: what's happening to, say, Ford's CEO, the person who actually is ultimately responsible for the company's failures? Well, he has decided to forego his salary every year since he's been there, so he must be taking a hit for the team, too, right? Not so much. It appears that CEO William Clay Ford Jr. has raked in $53 MILLION over the last three years in stock options, including $18 million last year alone.

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