Ford Authority

Ford May Not Follow GM With UAW Recognition At EV Plants

Even before the ongoing United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against the Detroit Big Three automakers began last month, the union was quite clear that it wants to organize future EV plants, which comes as no surprise. That subject remains a sticking point in current negotiations as well, with the UAW panning Ford’s loan from the Department of Energy that will help fund the construction of the BlueOval SK Battery Park and BlueOval City plants, as well as the automaker’s recent decision to stop construction at the BlueOval Battery Park Michigan site amid financial uncertainties regarding the two sides’ next contract. Now, Ford may not follow General Motors in regards to its decision to recognize the UAW at its future EV plants as well, according to Wards Auto.

“While Ford remains open to the possibility of working with the UAW on future battery plants in the United States, these are multibillion-dollar investments and must operate at competitive and sustainable levels,” Ford said in a statement issued after the UAW announced GM had agreed to place battery plants under the GM-UAW master agreement. “GM has now agreed in writing to place their electric-battery manufacturing under our national master agreement. We’ve been told for months this is impossible,” UAW President Shawn Fain said of the move during last week’s strike update.

For now, Stellantis hasn’t commented on this particular topic, while GM didn’t really elaborate on its decision, either. “Negotiations remain ongoing, and we will continue to work towards finding solutions to address outstanding issues. Our goal remains to reach an agreement that rewards our employees and allows GM to be successful into the future,” said GM spokesman David Barnas. Historically speaking, Ford has made it clear that it will not attempt to stop the UAW from organizing its future EV plants, but is clearly exercising caution in regards to the potential cost implications of such a move.

“The workforce for these operations has not been hired,” the automaker said in a previous statement. “The future employees at these operations can choose to be union represented and enter the collective bargaining process. As Ford has made clear, none of our employees, including powertrain employees, will lose their jobs due to our battery plants during this contract period. In fact, for the foreseeable future, we will have to hire more workers as some workers retire, in order to keep up with demand for our (internal-combustion-engine) products.”

We’ll have more on the UAW strike soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford-UAW news, UAW news, and 24/7 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. Dave Mathers

    No union at the EV plants? I highly doubt that idea will fly.

    1. Tom

      What incentive is there for Ford to compete against Telsa and the Internationals with expensive UAW labor? The #1 midsize truck in America is from a Japanese company and built in Mexico. The American consumer long ago stopped caring about buying Union products. The UAW sticker sadly carries a high price and little appeal.

  2. David Dickinson II

    I think the world has been deceived by Tesla’s unusual success (which I suspect we will eventually find out is due to accounting fraud). They think there is an endless pot of gold at the end of the EV rainbow and, instead, they are finding a big bag of crahp. Tesla continues to lower prices on EVs that are already losing money, and now the unions want to increase labor costs on a product that is already losing $33k/vehicle. Exactly how is this business model going to be successful?

  3. Arthur J (Jim) Movius

    Workers at an EV or EV battery manufacturing facility should have the option whether on not to be represented by a union and if union representation is their choice, they should have the option to choose what union will represent them. It is inappropriate for management reps and union reps to bargain away the right of employees who will work in the EV related facilities to consider and vote on representation. Bargaining away this right is outside the usual scope of the contract negotiations process. Negotiations should focus on wages, hours, and working conditions of the represented members. Members of other unions, IBEW is one example, may have skill sets better matched to EV battery manufacturing and EV vehicle assembly than UAW members. Disclaimer: I have represented both labor and management as negotiator and have served as a hearing officer for mediations. Comments here are not intended to be biased in favor of labor or management.

    1. David Dickinson II

      That is a great point. In fact, I now suspect that UAW is including it for the very reasons you state. Those future employees may choose a different union and the UAW wants that dues money for themselves and may see other potential unions like IBEW as an existential threat to their monopoly. They are elbowing out their “brothers.”

    2. Phyllis Boles

      It’s called job security for the ICE workers who will be displaced due to EV.

  4. Al

    Unless I missed something in the article, it looks like GM only agreed to “electric-battery manufacturing”, not EV production. How is that a win? GM will just not manufacture batteries in the US or Canada.

    1. Amanda

      Exactly right. There’s always the fine print. I highly suspect there is language in there that allows them to build these plants wherever they want.

      1. Rick

        In order to get the government subsidies for the transition to ev these plants have to be built here in the United States. If the want to run away from the union they can do that but on their own dime

  5. Laudra

    I absloutly agree! The statement in this article says it all “As Ford has made clear, none of our employees, including powertrain employees, will lose their jobs due to our battery plants during this contract period”. To highlight “during this contract period”. Ford has offered 2 yrs of pay and health insurance to employee’s that are laid off with permanence, the writing is on the wall. UAW is going to keep pushing themselves right out of a job. Ford would rather pay laid off employees for 2 years then pay them these outrageous salaries because, its cheaper for ford to do just that. UAW keep pushing and you might win this battle but the people with the most money tend to win the war.

  6. Dolores Moore

    Ford is doing the right thing do not allow Union at the EV plants they only make the cost go up which is not sustainable period


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