Long before the United Auto Workers (UAW) began its targeted strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis a little over a month ago, the union made it quite clear that it wanted to organize each of the automaker’s future EV plants. Though those facilities are still under construction – with hiring just beginning at the Ford BlueOval City site – this topic has quickly become one of the main barriers preventing both sides from reaching a new agreement, along with beefed up retirement security. That’s still the case today, it seems – roughly one week after that news originally came to light – according to Reuters.
While General Motors has reportedly already agreed to include its future EV facilities in the next master contract with the UAW, Ford has remained adamant that it wants to hire workers at those plants and then let them decide if they want to vote in the union or not. Now, however, this new report suggests that the UAW and the Detroit Big Three automakers are looking at different options such as taking workers that are displaced from unionized plants and moving them to new EV facilities.
This concept isn’t exactly new either, as Ford previously asked the UAW for more flexibility regarding its ability to move workers from one plant to another – an idea that stems from uncertainty regarding future EV demand. With EV adoption in the U.S. currently lagging behind places like Europe and China, Ford wants to secure the ability to shift workers from one facility to another, with the idea that it can focus its workforce on building vehicles that are facing the highest demand at any given time, regardless of whether those vehicles are ICE-powered or all-electric. In its current UAW contract, Ford is restricted from engaging in such activities.
Ford previously accused the UAW of holding up talks over its future EV plants – allegations the union has denied. At the same time, UAW President Shawn Fain previously criticized Ford’s $9.2 billion dollar loan from the Department of Energy, along with the automaker’s decision to pause construction at the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan site amid uncertainties regarding the terms of its next contract.