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Ford CEO will “Think Carefully” Where Vehicles are Built, Ford-UAW Tensions Flare

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Jim Farley says Ford will rethink where vehicles built as UAW threatens more strikes.
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Last Thursday, Ford CEO Jim Farley told the Wolfe Research Global Auto Conference in New York that Ford will “think carefully about our (manufacturing) footprint” in reference to their relationship with UAW and strikes.

The statement comes on the heels of the news that nearly 9,000 UAW automakers threaten to strike at a Ford truck plant in Louisville, KY.

Farley said that Ford took pride in their UAW relationship, having avoided strikes since the 1970’s. He went onto explain that Ford builds 100% of its trucks in the U.S.— unlike their competitors who also went through bankruptcy when Ford never has— all while employing the most union members at 57,000.

“Our reliance on the UAW turned out to be we were the first truck plant to be shut down,” Farley told the conference. “Really our relationship has changed. It’s been a watershed moment for the company.”

After a six-week strike in 2023, the UAW won top-scale factory workers a 27% raise. Ford stated it will result in an extra cost of $500 per vehicle immediately, which will grow to $900 by the end of the contract in 2028.

“Maybe Ford doesn’t need to move factories to find the cheapest labor on Earth,” union President Shawn Fain stated in a response. “Maybe it needs to recommit to American workers and find a CEO who’s interested in the future of this country’s auto industry.”

Farley is looking to cut $2 billion in manufacturing costs to offset the increased labor costs of the UAW contract.

The tit-for-tat comments from Farley and Fain, with threats of more strikes, confirm that the relationship has strained. This could be another interesting year for Ford and UAW.

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