Green Car Advocates Respond to Ford’s Announcement that Worker Layoffs is “The Way Forward”

Reports indicate that going green would create more jobs for the auto industry.

Published: 21-Jan-2006

SAN FRANCISCO - Green car advocates expressed astonishment today that Ford Motor Company considers mass worker layoffs to be "the way forward" that will pull the company out of its current financial slump. "Instead of pledging to reduce its work force, Ford should have pledged to increase the fuel efficiency of its out-dated fleet that sits unsold at dealerships across America. There is no "way forward" for Ford, while the company is still moving backwards on fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions," said Mike Hudema, green car campaigner at the human rights group Global Exchange.

Kiplinger’s, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have all connected Ford’s financial problems with bad decisions that have left the company pushing gas-guzzling SUVs at time when consumer demand for hybrids is at an all time high. "There is nothing forward-looking about the fact that the majority of Ford’s fleet gets fewer miles per gallon than the original Ford Model-T. What we need is a real way forward, one that would create new jobs and increase investment in zero emissions technologies that are good for our environment and Ford’s bottom line," said Jennifer Krill, director of the Zero Emissions Campaign at the Rainforest Action Network.

Several reports indicate that a shift to green technology would increase jobs for the auto industry. In a 2005 report, the Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that increasing fuel economy to 40 mpg would employ 161,000 more people in the United States within ten years. 40,800 of those jobs would be in the automotive sector—10,000 more jobs than Ford proposes to cut this quarter.

A 2004 study by the Apollo Alliance showed that federal policies favorable to renewable energy could yield up to three times the number of jobs as policies that promote fossil-fuel development. The president of the United Auto Workers, whose members will be hit hard by Ford’s announced layoffs, discussed such federal policies in a recent speech at the Automotive News World Congress, where he called for government involvement to hasten the production of energy-saving vehicles.

Global Exchange, Rainforest Action Network and the Ruckus Society have been calling on Ford to commit to improve its fleet-wide fuel efficiency to 50 miles per gallon by 2010 and eliminate tailpipe emissions by 2020. For more information about their campaign, called Jumpstart Ford, visit JumpstartFord.com.

"With today’s announcement, Ford has proven that bigger and bigger SUVs lead to smaller and smaller workforces.  Ford will start hiring again when they beat their addiction to gas guzzlers and build clean green cars," said John Sellers, executive director of the Ruckus Society.

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