DEARBORN, Mich., July 24 (UPI) -- Michigan-based Ford Motor Co., preparing to start negotiations with the United Auto Workers union, says workers shouldn't expect pay raises.
Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said workers shouldn't expect pay increases at a time when many of their neighbors remain unemployed, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Ford has made nearly $12 billion in profits since the start of 2009, even though it said its average labor costs are higher than its competitors. Hourly workers who received $5,000 profit-sharing checks for 2010 were angry with the millions paid to top executives, the report said.
"We cannot afford to slip back into old habits," Fields told the Free Press as the Big Three automakers prepare for talks with labor union representatives.
Fields said Ford has the "wind at our back … . I wouldn't trade our position for anything."
"Last year, the company did well and … we paid about $5,000 per hourly employee [in profit sharing] in a very difficult environment where their neighbors and friends otherwise are not working," Fields said.
Last week Ford held a lottery in Louisville, Ky., to trim a pool of nearly 17,000 applicants for 1,800 new jobs it will add to make the all-new Ford Escape in November.