Union leaders urged members to vote for Joe Biden (whether they did is debatable given the evidence), and now they’re being repaid by massive losses. Ford has decided to renege on its promise to have Ohio build an unnamed vehicle, and is sending that plant back to Mexico.
Ford is the latest automaker to come under fire for reportedly reneging on a promise to invest in Ohio after union members said the company backed out of a plan to pump almost a billion dollars into its Cleveland-area plant.
The United Auto Workers claim Ford plans to build an undisclosed vehicle in Mexico instead of at the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, where the automaker promised a $900 million investment during 2019 contract negotiations.
The episode may be the beginning of Ohio lawmakers’ latest battle with automakers over production since General Motors closed its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, in 2019.
“We’re working with the White House. We’re going to put a lot of pressure on Ford management,” Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown told reporters Wednesday. “It’s the same old story — they make promises or shut down production or fail to invest and they move to Mexico because they can save on labor costs and environmental costs. That’s what the auto industry has done in our state for decades, and we’re fighting back.”
The Ford plant, one of several auto assembly facilities in the state, makes E-series vans and Super Duty pickup trucks. Honda also produces Accord and CR-V models as well as Acuras here, while Jeep makes the Wrangler and Gladiator in Toledo.
“We 100 percent reject the company’s decision to put corporate greed and more potential profits over American jobs and the future of our members. We expect the company to honor its contractual commitments to this membership and when it fails to do so we will take action,” UAW Vice President and Director Gerald Kariem said in a March 12 letter to union members.
Ford did not immediately respond to questions, but in a statement to media outlets said: “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. Since 2019, we have invested more than $185 million and created and retained more than 100 jobs at Ohio Assembly Plant, including actions planned for this year.”
As GM was winding down production in Lordstown, Mr. Brown, a Democrat, and Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, called for but weren’t able to secure a commitment from GM to make another vehicle to replace the Chevrolet Cruze.
Mr. Portman said Tuesday he hoped reports that Ford was moving its new project to Mexico were false.
“I’m very concerned about it. I don’t know that it’s accurate, I hope it’s not,” Mr. Portman said. “Ford has made a commitment to be the biggest U.S. manufacturer — in other words, of all the U.S. companies — that they will manufacture more in the United States than anybody else. They do that now. I hope that they choose to continue to keep that product at Avon Lake, and I’m weighing in strongly encouraging that.”
After the Lordstown closure, workers transferred to other GM plants and the automaker sold the factory to electric-vehicle startup Lordstown Motors — but production at the plant has yet to restart. Last week, a short seller accused the company of fabricating orders to artificially boost its stock.
Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, whose district extends to western Cleveland and includes the Ford plant in Avon Lake, called on the company to clarify its plans.
“For Ford to back out of its commitment to workers in Ohio, and instead export American jobs to Mexico, would be devastating decision for Ohio families and the greater regional economy,” she said.
“Every vehicle or component manufactured in Mexico represents a lost job and broken promise to America’s manufacturing work force.”
Ford announced this week it plans to move a major project from northeast Ohio to Mexico.
Ford went back on its 2019 promise to invest $900 million in the Avon Lake plant.
What a difference two months make.
The United Auto Workers union has informed workers at the Avon Lake Ford plant that it plans to move a major project slated for 2023 from Northeast Ohio to its plant in Mexico.
The letter, dated Friday, March 12, stated that Ford is going back on its agreement to build a “next-generation vehicle” at the Avon Lake plant in 2023.
In 2019, the UAW says Ford promised to invest $900 million in a new project at the Avon Lake plant, that was set to begin production in 2023. The agreement also included a “complete revitalization” of the facility.
Ford released a statement to 3News Tuesday that 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.
“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. We are invested in Ohio Assembly Plant and our dedicated workforce there,” the statement says. “Since 2019, we have invested more than $185 million and created and retained more than 100 jobs at Ohio Assembly Plant, including actions planned for this year. This includes increasing our capacity to build additional Super Duty trucks at Ohio Assembly Plant to meet strong consumer demand.”
There once was a president who cared about our nation's workers and economy — who convinced companies to keep jobs here and even bring them back — but people didn't like his skin tone and his tweets were mean, so they sent him away. https://t.co/kwSt6e0T05
— Aaron Lockhart 🇺🇸 (@arabbitorduck) March 18, 2021