Ford's $50,000 Retirement Buyout Attracts Strong Interest from UAW Workers

The company is offering a pre-tax lump-sum payment to eligible skilled trade and production employees who retire during 2024.

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Ford Motor Co. has begun offering $50,000 retirement buyouts to United Auto Workers (UAW)-represented employees, eliciting a strong response. The initiative, confirmed by Ford spokeswoman Jessica Enoch to the Detroit Free Press, is part of the company's 2024 retirement incentive program.

This program, which opened Jan. 22 and runs through March 1, provides a pre-tax lump-sum payment to eligible skilled trade and production employees who choose to retire during 2024. Ford's approach, unique among the Detroit Three automakers, does not cap the number of participants.

Eligibility for the buyout is defined by specific criteria: 30 years of service at any age, 55 years old with a minimum of 10 years of service, or being 65 years old with at least one year of service. Payments are scheduled to start in March, following the application window's closure, and will be dispensed four to six weeks after an eligible employee’s retirement date.

Todd Dunn, president of UAW Local 862, told the Free Press there has been "very significant" interest in the buyouts, especially at the Kentucky Truck Plant, where about 1,200 workers will be eligible by the end of 2024, and the Louisville Assembly Plant. This interest is not limited to production roles but extends to skilled trades, impacting various aspects of Ford's operations.

Dunn said this reflects a natural work life cycle among seasoned hourly workers. The company's substantial hiring push in 1993, to cater to the demand for work trucks, is now culminating in a wave of retirements, potentially reshaping the workforce landscape. This shift is expected to open up opportunities for newer employees who have been awaiting advancement.

Stellantis has extended its similar buyout offer through December 2024, while General Motors is yet to announce the dates for its version of the program.

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