Ford closing day care centers to cut costs
DEARBORN -- Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers are notifying parents
of 895 local children today that day care facilities will be closed on June
29 as part of cost saving measures.
The centers are operated by Bright Horizon Family Solutions, a Watertown,
Mass. company which runs day care centers for large corporations and
Five of the centers for Ford employees are located in Southeastern Michigan
with a sixth in Louisville and another in Kansas City. The Michigan centers
are located in Ypsilanti, Sterling Heights, Livonia and two in Dearborn.
Workers at the centers were told today their last day will be June 29. The
company will negotiate a severance package for the employees. Workers were
warned not to talk about the shutdown.
The closing decision was based strictly on economics, said Ford.
"The business realities in the current restructuring initiatives that we are
working through right now forced us to make the difficult decision to
discontinue the child care services," said Tom Hoyt, a spokesman for Ford.
UAW officials did not return telephone calls.
Hoyt would not say how much the automaker will save by the closing or if
Ford or the UAW subsidizes the child care program in anyway.
"I can't comment on that," Hoyt said. "Day care isn't our business. We're in
the auto business. We're certainly concerned and it was a difficult decision
to discontinue the childcare."
The closings come on the heels of Ford's announcement Thursday that it had
lost a record $12.7 billion in 2006.
Hoyt said Ford and the UAW will provide resources to help parents find
alternatives for child care.
But some parents said they weren't happy about the decision and wondered how
they would find safe daycare centers with flexible hours to match plant
One mother, a salaried Ford employee with two young children attending one
of the centers, said she doesn't know what she'll do about daycare if she
has to stay at work extra hours to complete a job.
"I'm dismayed over this," said the mother, who didn't want her named
published because of concerns about her job. "There will be so many children
displaced. I'm concerned there won't be enough alternative day care to
handle all the children."
Finding a suitable new daycare, she said, is time consuming.
"I'm sure Ford will provide recourses to help us find day care," she said.
"However, I've used those resources in the past. It's not easy finding a
safe place that provides a good learning environment."
She said she pays $1,200 to $1,300 a month for child care -- a fee she said
was slightly lower than the going rate in private daycares.
A Ford white-collar worker sent an e-mail to The Detroit News, upset after
he heard the day care centers were closing.
"We used to be a Ford family," said the F series engineer who also asked
that his name not be published.
"This was the last true benefit that enabled significant productivity by us.
While collar folks who work long and late -- for no overtime -- could be
comforted by the fact that a high quality center was teaching and protecting
our children," he added.
"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without
bloodshed,if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not
too costly,you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with
all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival.There may
even be a worse case;you may have to fight when there is no hope of
victory,because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."