Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford has called on the UAW to end the ongoing labor strike and make progress towards a new labor agreement, making his first public statements on the matter since the strike began. Bill Ford’s comments follow an announcement last week that the UAW was expanding its strike to include Ford’s Kentucky truck plant, considered one of the company’s most important production facilities. The UAW called for an initial round of walkouts last month following the expiration of the previous labor contract on September 15th. The union is currently striking at all three of the Big Detroit automakers – Ford, GM, and Stellantis.
Bill Ford delivered his comments Monday in a speech at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant and Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. The Rouge facility employs nearly 9,000 workers and produces the Ford F-150 pickup truck, the Ford F-150 Raptor, and the Ford F-150 Lightning.
Bill Ford opened his speech by taking a look back at Ford’s history and the UAW, highlighting several of the company’s key moments, from World War I to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Automobile plants like The Rouge have created countless well-paying manufacturing jobs and a thriving middle class,” Bill Ford said.
“A strong manufacturing base is critical to our national security,” he added.
Bill Ford went on to address the ongoing UAW strike, saying that negotiations “should not be Ford versus the UAW. It should be Ford and the UAW versus Toyota, Honda, Tesla, and all the Chinese companies that want to enter our home market.”
“Toyota, Honda, Tesla, and the others are loving this strike, because they know the longer it goes on, the better it is for them,” Bill Ford said, adding that without proper investments into the company’s future, “[Ford] will lose to the competition. America will lose, many jobs will be lost, so will future investments. We’ll lose factories like the one we’re in here today, and communities will suffer greatly.”
Bill Ford went on to say that Ford has added many UAW jobs in the last 15 years, and that it employs more UAW workers than any other automaker. “Ford is the strongest partner the UAW has ever known,” Bill Ford said. Bill added that last week’s strike at the Kentucky Truck plant has harmed tens of thousands of Americans, including workers, suppliers, and dealers, as well as associated communities. The UAW has expanded its strike against Ford multiple times since September.
“I call on my great UAW colleagues, some of whom I’ve known for decades, many are close personal friends – we need to come together to bring an end to this acrimonious round of talks,” Bill Ford said.