DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. plans to bring an additional 635 workers into its plants by 2012 to perform work now done by supplier employees in and outside the United States.
The hiring is made possible by working with the UAW to make Ford plants more competitive, the automaker said in a statement today.
Under the 2007 agreement between the union and the company, Ford has already added 1,340 jobs to Ford plants.
Moreover, Ford says it will exceed its pledge to “in-source” jobs at its plants under the agreement. The agreement called for 1,559 in-sourced jobs. Through 2012, Ford says it will add 1,975.
Here are a few examples of where jobs will be in-sourced:
• Chicago Stamping plant, to produce parts of the Lincoln MKS, Ford Taurus and Ford Explorer.
• Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., for assembly of battery packs for next-generation hybrid vehicles. The work is now performed by a supplier in Mexico.
• Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., for moon roof sub assembly and other work.
Mark Fields, the automaker's president for the Americas, made the announcement at the CAR Management Briefings Seminar in Traverse City, Mich.
He said the company will "absolutely" look at adding more than the 635 positions announced today.
Said Fields: "The most competitive partner will win the business."
The crisis in the auto industry forced a new level of collaboration between the union and automakers, UAW President Bob King said earlier in the week.
“Our goal is to have viable, long-term successful companies,” King told reporters at the conference Monday. The “way to get our membership back and growing is for the companies to be growing sales, volume and market share. That’s what our focus is.”
Ford also started hiring workers at the new entry-level wage of about $14 an hour at the Chicago assembly plant where the 2011 Explorer will be made, Fields told reporters yesterday at the conference.
The hiring started “a couple of weeks ago,” he said.
President Barack Obama, who toured GM and Chrysler plants in Detroit on Friday, plans to tour the Chicago plant on Thursday.
Ford said in January it was adding 1,200 jobs and a second shift at the plant. Fields said the workers are the first Ford has hired under the new two-tier wage system, agreed to in 2007, which starts at about half the amount paid to hourly production workers hired previously.
The auto industry is emerging from a tough period, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm said in a speech at the conference.
“What a difference a year makes,” said Granholm, a Democrat. “We can’t claim victory yet, but I’m really pleased we’ve started to emerge from a very, very difficult period of time.”
Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report.