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Farley Trying to Change Perception EV-Related Job Losses

by | October 2, 2023

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley is busy clawing back the assertion the company’s shift to electric vehicles would represent significant cuts in hourly jobs.

The claim was spread far and wide by financial analysts and media as an unavoidable cost of the transition to electric vehicles. It was also supported by a UAW-produced study showing the production of EVs requires fewer hourly workers.

Ford CEO Farley responds two

Ford CEO Jim Farley says the company plans to hire more hourly workers in the future, not less.

Now with more nearly 20% of Ford’s blue-collar workers out on the picket lines for the first time in nearly 50 years in an increasingly bitter strike about compensation, retirement benefits and the transition to electric vehicles, Farley insists Ford is not planning to eliminate jobs as it makes the transition to EVs.

Battery plants become pawns

However, EVs took center stage when, in an obvious effort to counter the UAW’s pressure, the automaker said it was “pausing” construction on a new battery plant in western Michigan. The plant would be owned by Ford but would use battery technology supplied by a Chinese company, CATL.

When it happened Fain quickly issued a statement on the former Twitter, now known as “X,” calling the move “a shameful, barely veiled threat by Ford to cut jobs,” adding later, “We are simply asking for a just transition to electric vehicles and Ford is instead doubling down on their race to the bottom.”

Ford proposed offer two REL

However, during a briefing for analysts and reporters last Friday, Farley emphasized Ford expects to add more jobs on both the ICE side of the business and eventually in EVs as the battery plants, Farley said in a briefing for analysts after the UAW expanded the union’s targeted by shutting down Ford big Chicago assembly plant.

“What’s really frustrating is that I believe we would’ve reached a compromise on pay and benefits but so far the UAW is holding the deal hostage over battery plants,” Farley said in extended remarks following a Facebook Live in which Fain announced the UAW’s next targets.

It should also be noted that work continues on the location in western Michigan. “To be clear, the Walbridge work on the site is continuing. Only the Ford component of work on the site has paused,” Walbridge spokesperson Amy Bailey told the Ford Authority.

Ford spokesman T.R. Reid previously said Ford has only completed a small amount of construction work on its part at the site thus far, and noted that this work had just begun very recently.

Too soon

Ford proposal graphic one

Farley was quick to note the allegations about job cuts and an inability of the UAW to secure representation for hourly employees at the new plant is hyperbole.

“Keep in mind, these battery plants don’t exist yet. They’re mostly joint ventures. They’ve not been organized by the UAW yet because workers haven’t been hired and won’t be for many years to come,” Farley said.

“The UAW is scaring our workers by repeating something that is factually not true. None of our workers today are going to lose their jobs due to our battery plants during this contract period or even beyond this contract. In fact, for the foreseeable future, we will have to hire more workers as some workers retire, in order to keep up with the demand of our incredible new vehicles,” he said.

Fain presents UAW position

UAW Shawn Fain, however, rebuffed Farley’s suggestions the bargaining around economics is complete. And blasted the Ford CEO for not showing up for the bargaining.

“I don’t know why Jim Farley is lying about the state of negotiations. It could be because he failed to show up for bargaining this week, as he has for most of the past 10 weeks,” Fain said.

Ford says no graphic REL

“If he were there, he’d know we gave Ford a comprehensive proposal on Monday and still haven’t heard back. We are far apart on core economic proposals like retirement security and post-retirement healthcare, as well as job security in this EV transition, which Farley himself says is going to cut 40 percent of our members’ jobs.

“Like a good neighbor, we’re available 24/7. Name the time and the place you want to settle a fair contract for our members, and we’ll be there,” added Fain, who was also criticized by General Motors chair and CEO Mary Barra after the UAW chief expanded the strike to include one of GM’s utility vehicle plants.

“By their own admission, the UAW leadership’s plan from the beginning has been to drag their membership into a long, unnecessary strike to further their own personal and political agendas. Their leaked text messages from last week stated their plan to keep us “wounded for months” and cause “recurring reputations damage and operational chaos,” Barra said in a statement emailed after the walkouts began.

Fain, however, spared Stellantis in the third round of targeted strikes because he said the company made a last-minute offer the union was reviewing.


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