More than a year before contract negotiations begin the United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Co. announced Thursday the automaker will invest $3.7 billion at plants in three states in the Midwest, adding more than 6,200 new union jobs.
The new investments will affect Ford plants in Michigan, Missouri and Ohio. In a joint release, Ford and the UAW said along with new union jobs nearly 3,000 temporary UAW-Ford workers will be converted to permanent full-time status and all hourly employees will be granted healthcare benefits on the first day of employment.
In the long-term, the moves will generate 74,000 indirect new jobs in the U.S. by the end of 2026, according to the release.
The current agreement expires September, 2023 and such major announcements regarding plant investments and job creation generally follow agreement on a new contract.
To a cheering crowd of workers at Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plant in Lorain County, Ohio, Ford Blue president Kumar Galhotra explained why the announcement was made so far in advance of contract talks.
“The steps we’re taking are too important to delay and we decided together with the UAW leadership that we weren’t going to wait around. You don’t beat the competition by waiting around,” said Galhotra.
In a larger context, today’s actions are part of the automaker’s Ford + growth plan.
“We’re investing in American jobs and our employees to build a new generation of incredible Ford vehicles and continue our Ford+ transformation,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley in a statement.
UAW President Ray Curry added his appreciation in a statement, saying, “We are always advocating to employers and legislators that union jobs are worth the investment. Ford stepped up to the plate by adding these jobs and converting 3,000 UAW members to permanent, full-time status with benefits.”
Here’s how the multi-billion dollar investments will break d0wn:
Michigan: $2 billion investment and 3,200 union jobs including the creation of nearly 2,000 jobs throughout three assembly plants in Michigan to increase production of the all-new F-150 Lightning electric truck to 150,000 per year at Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, produce an all-new Ranger pickup at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne and an all-new Mustang coupe at Flat Rock Assembly Plant. The investment also includes $35 million to build an all-new Ford Customer Service Division packaging facility in Monroe that will create more than 600 union jobs, with operations expected to begin in 2024 to help accelerate parts shipments for Ford customers
Ohio: $1.5 billion investment and 1,800 union jobs at Ohio Assembly Plant to assemble an all-new EV commercial vehicle starting mid-decade, along with an additional 90 jobs and $100 million investment between Lima Engine and Sharonville Transmission plants
Missouri: $95 million investment and 1,100 union jobs for a third shift at Kansas City Assembly Plant to increase production of the Transit, commercial van, and the all-new E-Transit electric van.
In addition, Galhotra announced the automaker will invest $1 billion over five years to improve working conditions at Ford plants by providing “things like better access to healthy food, better security and lighting in parking lots, better break facilities, new EV charging points.”
The decision to make those improvements was made after he and Farley visited various plants, speaking with a number of workers on their concerns and needs about their on-the-job experiences, Galhotra said.
This story has been updated