(CNN) — Ford is laying off nearly 700 workers building the F-150 Lightning, the electric version of its best-selling pickup truck, and unlike other recent layoffs, this one has nothing to do with the ongoing United Auto Workers (UAW) union strike.
The company announced that it will temporarily cut one of the three work shifts at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, near the company’s headquarters. The layoffs will rotate between the three shifts.
Ford temporarily closed the plant this summer to improve production capacity, and the company indicated that this latest reduction is related to “multiple constraints, including the supply chain, processing and delivery process of vehicles that were held for quality checks after production resumed in August.”
The company reported earlier this month that Lightning sales fell 45% in the third quarter compared to the previous year. However, Ford says it expects sales to increase during the last three months of the year as production capacity increases at the plant. The company noted that overall demand for its electric vehicle lineup remains strong, rising by 65% in the third quarter.
A UAW-led strike at five Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis assembly plants led to all three companies laying off workers.
Ford announced the layoff of an additional 500 workers distributed across five component factories starting Monday, due to the expansion of the strike at its largest factory, the Kentucky Truck Plant, last Wednesday. On Thursday, company executives said there could be a total of 4,600 layoffs later this week at its various plants due to the expanded strike at Kentucky Truck. So far it has laid off nearly 2,500 workers, not counting those who were building the Lightning.
Stellantis has also increased layoffs. It laid off 780 employees at two plants in Kokomo, Indiana, on Friday, bringing the total number of workers laid off at the company since the strike began on September 15 to 1,420.
GM has laid off 2,300 workers, which it attributes to the impact of the strike, although no additional layoffs have been announced in recent days.
Workers laid off due to a strike are not eligible for unemployment benefits in most states. They are also not eligible for what is called a “strike benefit,” which companies pay. However, F-150 Lightning workers who have been laid off will be eligible for both, according to Ford spokeswoman Jessica Enoch.
The union has disputed the companies’ claims that it needs to fire workers whose work was affected by the strike at other plants, but said the laid-off workers are entitled to the same $500 weekly in strike benefits as the nearly 35,000 workers who were laid off. Currently in this measure of strength in the three companies.
“This is an attempt to pressure our members to accept a lower amount,” UAW President Sean Fine previously said of the layoffs. “With their record profits, they don’t need to lay off a single worker.”
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