One of the most progressive programs ever launched by the auto industry is about to come to an end.
Ford Motor Co. has reached agreement with the United Auto Workers Union to close its jobs bank, bringing to an end a program that was intended to keep blue-collar employees from being seen as just another line item cost, expendable during the down times of the industry’s normal cycles.
Chrysler has already closed its bank, and the 1,600 General Motors employees the program covered will be placed on layoff, starting February 2.
Job security has been an issue for the UAW since it was first formed, during the depth of the recession. But while the union was able to win a variety of progressive benefits – such as employer-paid health insurance – it was only during the boom years of the mid and late 1980s that the idea of protecting jobs finally gained traction.