Ford Authority

UAW Wants Future Ford Battery Plants To Be Unionized

In the wake of the paradigm-shifting reveal of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lighting, The Blue Oval subsequently announced another EV project that will likely be just as important for the automaker in the coming years. The new Ford joint venture will involve SK Innovation, the supplier of the F-150 Lightning’s batteries, and the collaboration will potentially spawn several battery plants in future. In the wake of this recent news, the UAW has called for these upcoming facilities to feature union labor. Their push follows recent friction between Ford and the UAW in regards to the former’s production plans and future ambitions.

While the recent joint venture announcement was not accompanied by any concrete details about the new collaborative effort, Ford did state that battery plants are an important pillar of its push towards electrification, and that it is expecting the new factories to supply batteries for 600,000 vehicles within the next several years. Unfortunately, these new components will likely displace preexisting internal combustion powertrains, and perhaps the models that employ them too. The Ford Oakville Assembly plant narrowly avoided such a fate, but the drama surrounding that near-closure will likely play out at other facilities in the future.

Even if factories aren’t displaced by battery plants and other EV facilities, automakers can still divert resources to plants outside the country, which typically aren’t unionized. Ford and GM separately announced investments into their respective Mexican operations and explicitly announced they were for future EV projects, which drew the ire of the UAW.

While the threat may not be existential, battery plants will eventually become more important than the conventional transmission and engine plants that currently employ tens of thousands of UAW members, hence the anxiety around the situation. That is almost certainly why Gerald Kariem, a vice president at the UAW and the head of the UAW Ford department, felt compelled to call for these new facilities to feature unionized workers. “UAW members believe that Ford has a moral obligation, regardless of any joint venture arrangement, to ensure that the battery jobs that replace gas engine and transmission jobs are the same good paying union jobs that have fueled this American economy for generations,” said Kariem.

Ford employs more UAW workers than any other automaker in America, and the company’s stance on this issue could potentially influence how GM and Stellantis (formerly FCA) handle their unionized workforce. Regardless, this is new territory for every entity involved.

We’ll have more on this subject soon, so subscribe to Ford Authority for around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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  1. Mortimer Duke

    UAW wants its own jockstraps unionized. Why would Ford encumber its burgeoning venture by saddling it with inherent uncompetitiveness from square one?

    Have the Kia or Toyota plant build them

  2. Alexander

    If Ford was smart they would ditch the unit. They certainly aren’t doing ford any favors.

  3. Hendrik Joseph Haan

    Of course, those parasites want their cut!

  4. Jennifer Adack

    It would be GREAT if these battery plants were American companies!! Not a foreign owner building a plant here!!
    Let’s try to keep everything here in America!!

  5. nelson rosado

    Not Related but does anyone want to see a Ranger Lightning?
    Sign me up!

  6. RON K

    Unions have become obsolete. They were the driving force to move manufacturing offshore.

  7. DRJA

    Ahh…I see the anti-union nimrods are out who are too ignorant to understand how a well-paid Union workforce benefits the company they work for, the well being of their families and the local economy. You know, a -healthy- community, where workers may actually afford to buy a home and send their kids to college. Bet you won’t bat an eye though when Ford supports a bunch of Mexican families by moving plants there. But keep on hating and calling the workers who make the automobiles you love ‘parasites’. Shows how you live in a tiny world with absolutely no clue of the Big Picture.

    1. royl

      Let’s be honest, the UAW’s members buy a lot of chinese made stuff, they are not supporting Unions. The big picture, HUGE numbers of vehicles are being made in other countries and being shipped to the US, why? Cheaper? Toyota’s are not “cheaper” than many US made cars, but are they assembled better? I guess the only way to determine that is to look at how long they last, do Toyotas (on Average, again On Average) last longer than UAW made vehicles?

  8. CE

    There is a time & place for unions, but times have changed a lot in the last 40 years. Unions today are more in the business of telling a company how things are going to be & cause problems. Sometimes a company would be just fine hiring good workers & paying fair for the appropriate jobs. Things made in the USA tend to cost more as wages here are higher than other countries, but unions can cause prices to raise even more than necessary.

  9. Dave Mathers

    Up here in Canada union demands caused the Sterling Truck plant in St. Thomas to shut down a decade ago – they signed their first (and last contract) and five years later the Germans closed the plant. Also the International Harvester plant in Chatham closed the doors. Unions can be good and bad often at the same time. Trade unions destroyed the automotive industry in Great Britain.


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