Ford temporarily lays off 600 workers, citing strike’s ‘knock-on effects’

Just hours into an autoworker strike at one of its plants, Ford said it would temporarily lay off 600 workers who were not on the picket line, citing “knock-on effects” from the work stoppage.

The United Auto Workers launched what it’s calling a “stand-up strike” when their contracts with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis expired at 11:59 p.m. Thursday. The strike targets just one facility of each automaker, in Missouri, Ohio and Michigan.

The strike at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant only encompasses the final assembly and paint divisions.

But Ford said the work stoppage in those departments “has directly impacted the operations in other parts of the facility,” noting that its “production system is highly interconnected.”

The company said it told 600 employees in that plant’s body construction department and south sub-assembly area of integrated stamping not to report to work on Friday.

“This is not a lockout,” Ford insisted. “This layoff is a consequence of the strike at Michigan Assembly Plant’s final assembly and paint departments, because the components built by these 600 employees use materials that must be e-coated for protection. E-coating is completed in the paint department, which is on strike.”

Nearly 5,000 employees work at Ford’s Michigan Assembly plant. In total, about 12,000 workers are on strike.

A UAW spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment on the layoffs at Ford.