AVON LAKE, Ohio (WJW)– United Auto Workers is promising to act on behalf of Ford employees of Local 2000 if jobs promised for the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake are sent to Mexico.
In a letter from UAW leadership in Detroit sent Friday to members of Local 2000, Gerald Kariem, the vice president and director of the UAW national Ford department said UAW, “Rejects 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 stated it gained commitments from Ford in 2019 for the plant, including an investment of $900 million and a next generation product to be added in 2023. UAW said Ford will not honor its commitment and intends to build a next generation vehicle in Mexico.
UAW Local 2000 President Bill Samples expressed frustration and disappointment, and stated he is opposed to jobs promised for the Avon Lake plant going out of the country.
“We committed to a contract in 2019 with Ford motor company and the UAW based on the facts… We don’t get to pick and choose what we want to take out of the contract after its already ratified,” Samples said. “These are decisions being made on the backs of hardworking people that come inside this facility and work on the assembly line 10 hours a day sometimes five, six days a week.”
“This whole new product line was going to add an additional 1,600 employees basically doubling the number of workers at the Ohio truck plant. That announcement yesterday said no, that’s not going to happen,” said Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka.
He expressed surprise to learn about the change Monday given he was communicating with company representatives just last week.
“It’s shocking and it’s jarring and it’s concerning. We’ve been looking forward to this project for almost a year and a half now,” said Ted Esborn, the city’s economic development director.
Esborn said the city was anticipating this project, but did not allocate funds based on what they were initially told would be coming to the city. Zilka estimated they would have received about $2 million in income tax revenue from the Ohio Assembly Plant if plans did not change.
The UAW said it is intensely exploring options and submitted data requests to the company asking for additional explanation.
The Ohio Assembly Plant manager told employees in a letter Monday Ford is investing in the plant and increasing production of Super Duty trucks.
Ford communications sent the following statement:
“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. 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.”