The United Auto Workers warned Ford employees in Ohio that the automaker was planning to move construction of a new vehicle to Mexico instead of an Ohio plant.
“We 100% reject the company’s decision to put corporate greed and more potential profits over American jobs and the future of our members,” said UAW Vice President Gerald Kariem in a letter to Ford employees in Avon Lake, Ohio. “We expect the company to honor its contractual commitments to this membership and when it fails to do so we will take action.”
Kariem accused Ford of violating an agreement made with the union in 2019 in which the automaker pledged to invest $900 million in the Ohio plant and add the production of a next-generation product in 2023.
The UAW said the deal struck with Ford would ensure employees of job security “well into the foreseeable future” but added that the automaker “has decided it will not honor its promise.”
“Ford management expects us to just hang our heads and accept the decision,” Kariem said. “But let me be clear, we are making a different choice.”
Kariem said that the union has requested data and an explanation from Ford, but so far, the company has only given “strategically limited information.”
“We are intensely exploring our options at this time,” Kariem told workers.
But Ford said in response to the letter that conditions had changed since the 2019 agreement, while also arguing that the agreement had only made “reference to a $900 million investment and a new product for OHAP.”
“While conditions upon which the 2019 Administrative Letter were based have changed, the Company is investing in the plant and increasing production of Super Duty trucks at OHAP,” Ford Plant Manager Jason Moore wrote in a letter to employees.
The letter also noted that the company had invested $185 million into the Ohio plant since 2019, which helped the company retain 100 jobs at the site.
After Ford announced its plan in November to build a new electronic vehicle in Mexico, the company’s global manufacturing communications director, Kelli Felker, wouldn’t say if the automaker planned to stick to its investment in the Ohio plant.
“We are always looking at our options,” she said.
“Ford employs more hourly workers in the U.S. than any other automaker, assembles more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker, and Ford chooses to invest in America more than any other automaker,” Felker said in a statement in response to the story.
“We remain committed to investing $6 billion in our U.S. plants and creating and retaining 8,500 jobs in America during this four-year UAW contract,” the statement read. “We are invested in Ohio Assembly Plant and our dedicated workforce there.”