Ford Authority

UAW President Pans Ford EV Plant Construction Pause

One of the major sticking points in ongoing discussions between the on-strike United Auto Workers (UAW) and Ford – along with General Motors and Stellantis – has been the future of their workforce amid an ongoing electric vehicle transition. This is because EVs don’t take as much labor to assemble as ICE vehicles, while the union is also trying to organize under-construction plants like BlueOval City and BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, too. However, while the UAW and Ford have made significant progress toward a new four-year contract as of late, things seemingly hit a snag yesterday evening when Ford announced that construction is being halted at the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan plant due to the costs involved, as the automaker reconsiders its ability to “competitively run the plant.” Now, UAW President Shawn Fain is criticizing this move, which he sees as a slight to the union.

United Auto Workers UAW Strike Ford Michigan Assembly Plant

“This is a shameful, barely veiled threat by Ford to cut jobs,” Fain said. “Closing 65 plants over the last 20 years wasn’t enough for the Big Three, now they want to threaten us with closing plants that aren’t even open yet. We are simply asking for a just transition to electric vehicles and Ford is instead doubling down on their race to the bottom.”

Yesterday’s announcement – which seemingly came out of nowhere – is being blamed on the costs involved with running the plant, but Blue Oval spokesperson T.R. Reid noted that a “number of considerations” played into this decision, though he also added that the automaker “hasn’t made a final decision about the investment there.”

Ford BlueOval Battery Park Michigan Annoucement

Regardless, the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan project has faced plenty of scrutiny since its announcement early this year, both from local residents who want the matter to be brought to a public vote, as well as politicians who are concerned with the fact that Ford is planning to license lithium-iron phosphate battery technology from from China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) to build batteries there.

We’ll have more on the UAW and the future of the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan plant soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more 2023 Ford-UAW news, UAW news, and ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. whypac

    What does the UAW expect? Under UAW threat, Ford caved and granted ridiculous contract concessions that Ford can’t live with. Specifically, Ford can’t open a UAW wage battery plant that later cannot be closed when this ill-conceived, unsustainable, cash grab of an EV push goes belly up. The materials used to make batteries are rare, not sustainable. And when the crap hits the fan, due to the current stipulations currently in the yet to be ratified UAW contract, Ford won’t be able to shut the plant down without continuing to pay out the UAW wages for two years after plant closure.

    The only solution for Ford, is to never open the plant in the first place. Good job UAW. Your ridiculous demands are already backfiring.

    1. David Dickinson II


  2. wjtinfwb

    Fain is clearly a hack and inexperienced negotiator. Biting the hand that feeds you is rarely an attractive or effective strategy, whether in the boardroom or life in general. His quote about a “race to the bottom” is pretty rich for a guy who has zero financial investment in this project, likely little if any in Ford in general and who’s biggest risk in life is asking his members to bankrupt themselves and their families in a battle for a disproportionate share of a companies bottom line, again without taking any of the risk the company and its investors takes. Frankly, I’d love to see GM, Ford and Stellantis tell Fain and his membership to pound sand and build some new plants in the labor friendly south. What Fain fails to acknowledge is that many of the rank and files’ concern lies with the current administration, its policy’s around energy, China, immigration and the economy and little to do with their actual employer. Biden showing up for a minute on the picket line is another example of his gratuitous grandstanding for applause without scratching the surface of the real problem. And if the UAW thinks things are tough now, imagine in the administration authorizes work for some of the 8 Million plus unskilled illegal immigrants, Fain and his membership won’t have a leg to stand on. The unspoken fact is, Biden is effectively bringing the Mexican labor cost advantage to US manufacturers doorstep. 75k union jobs bolting times onto an F-150 will rapidly become $10/hr. unskilled labor jobs easily performed by a newly minted worker. TIme for manufacturers to make a final offer and then step away. If Fain wants to lead his membership off a cliff, let him do it.

    1. Rich

      I find myself developing a dislike for Fain and the UAW and unions in general. Outrageous demands (4 day work week???), repeatedly using the press to attack, dealing in bad faith, using labor to push bad policy… should I go on? I have nothing against union members, who frequently don’t have much choice. My Mom was a union member. Union leaders, on the other hand… should stick to improving working conditions and compensation for the members and stay out of politics, business, and social engineering.


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