[Watch previous FOX 8 News coverage in the player above.]
DEARBORN, Mich. (WJW) — With the United Auto Workers strike now in its second month — with related layoffs impacting more than 500 Ford workers in Ohio — Bill Ford, executive chair of Ford Motor Co., called on union leaders to end the latest “acrimonious” round of contract negotiations.
“Today, as the UAW strike against Ford continues, we are at a crossroads. Choosing the right path is not just about Ford’s future and our ability to compete. This is about the future of the American automobile industry,” Ford said on Monday.
“The UAW’s leaders have called us the enemy in these negotiations. But I will never consider our employees as enemies. This should not be Ford versus the UAW. It should be Ford and the UAW vs. Toyota and Honda, Tesla and all the Chinese companies that want to enter our home market,” he said. “Toyota, Honda, Tesla and others are loving this strike because they know the longer it goes on, the better it is for them. They will win and all of us will lose.”
The company has offered “a record contract” that would make UAW workers “among the best-paid manufacturing workers in the world,” Ford said.
“Despite this, the UAW’s leaders decided to escalate and strike our Kentucky Truck Plant last week. Shutting down that plant harms tens of thousands of Americans right away — workers, suppliers and dealers alike,” Ford said. “It hurts the communities that depend on these local economies. If it continues, it will have a major impact on the American economy and devastate local communities. The supply base is very fragile and will start collapsing with an expanded strike.”
More than 16,600 of Ford’s union workers are currently on strike and nearly 2,500 have been laid off as a result of the walkouts, according to the latest information from the automaker.
Walkouts of more than 4,600 UAW members at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant — which produces the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator — has led to the layoffs of 556 Ford workers at the Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1 in Brook Park and the Lima Engine Plant in Allen County.
The Brook Park plant produces 2.3-liter engines for the Explorer, while the Lima plant makes 3- and 3.3-liter engines for the Explorer and Aviator.
“All we want is a good contract. That’s all we’re asking for,” UAW Local 1250 President Wilma Thomas told FOX 8 News. “We’re not asking for anything we’re not due. We just want a good contract to keep on working, so we can pay our bills on time.”
Union leaders have not called on workers at Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake to strike. The facility employs more than 1,600 hourly workers, many of whom pay income taxes to the city.
“They are the largest income taxpayer that we have,” Mayor Greg Zilka told FOX 8 News.
UAW workers are also on strike at the Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, which makes the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator.