A September 25th article in the Wall Street Journal reports that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) has hired an additional 1,200 workers at a plant near Kansas City in Claycomo, Mo. The new employees would be working on a second shift producing the company’s in-demand commercial hauler, the Transit van.

Ford Firing On All Cylinders: Adding Workers In Kansas City

The Transit van is a mid-size commercial vehicle sold worldwide, and was brought to the U.S. this year as the Ford phases out its E-series vans.

Counting the new workers in Claycomo already on the job, Ford also announced it would exceed its projection of adding 12,000 new jobs to U.S. production facilities by 2015.

Statement from union

“I am very pleased that we are able to add 1,200 new jobs to [Kansas City Assembly Plant] which will strengthen this community and continue our efforts to grow good paying middle class manufacturing jobs,” said United Auto Workers Vice President Jimmy Settles, who supervises Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) workers for the union.

Lower wage jobs

Of note, the new Claycomo workers will be paid at a lower wage rate than workers who were hired before 2007. Around 23% of Ford’s hourly workforce is paid a lower rate than longtime employees today, Ford said. Analysts note that Ford needs to keep labor costs under control to be competitive with foreign auto manufacturers that have built plants in Southern states where wages are generally lower.

Ford claims 14,000 new jobs since 2011

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) was contractually obligated to hire at least 12,000 employees by 2015 in its latest contract with the UAW, and the company claims it has done so already.

However, the WSJ article notes that not all of the positions Ford counts in the 14,000 that it has created since 2011 are new employees. A significant number of the positions were taken by existing Ford workers. The WSJ did confirm that most of the new hiring in Kansas City, and an earlier hiring at a facility in Flat Rock, Mich., where the popular Ford Fusion and Mustang are produced, was largely new workers.