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Ford CEO Jim Farley on current state of UAW negotiations

By Ray McCarty, president and CEO, Associated Industries of Missouri

September 29, 2023 - Ford President and CEO Jim Farley and members of his executive team spoke about the current status of negotiations with leaders of the United Auto Workers (UAW) on a webcast today saying, "Our collective future is at stake."

The bottom line, from the company’s perspective:

  • Ford has offered a contract that would change the lives of its 57,000 workers.

  • The UAW is holding up the deal primarily over battery plants that will not come online for another two to three years.

  • There is still time to reach an agreement and avert disaster – but not much time given the fragile supply base.

“If the UAW’s goal is a record contract, they have already achieved this,” said Farley. “It is grossly irresponsible to escalate these strikes and hurt thousands of families.”

Before the strike – on September 12 – Ford made an offer that would mean substantial wins for its workers, including wage increases of more than 20%, traditional cost of living allowances, health care coverage that is in the top 1% for all Americans, eliminating wage tiers, boosting strong retirement contributions, granting more time off and more. In addition, the company has made product commitments for all UAW plants in America and offered layoff protections for all permanent employees. The company has continued to negotiate and improve its offer since September 12.

The billions in costs the UAW leadership is demanding – beyond the billions Ford has offered – would have devastating implications for Ford’s business and the company’s ability to protect good-paying union jobs going forward.

Under the UAW's current contract, Ford UAW-employees average $112,000 per year in total compensation, including benefits. Ford exceeded its commitments in the 2019-2023 contract by investing $7.4 billion in UAW represented facilities and creating or retaining nearly 14,100 union jobs. That's $1.4 billion in investment and 5,600 jobs more than the company's commitment under that contract. In fact, Ford has exceeded its commitment in the last three UAW contracts dating back to 2011.

"Historic gains for Ford workers? No problem," Farley said. "Record contract? No problem. Mortgage Ford's/UAW's collective future? Big problem."

Ford is the top employer of UAW-represented autoworkers nationwide and is one of the top manufacturing employers in Missouri. Opened in 1951, the Claycomo plant makes Ford E-Transit and Transit vans and F-150 pickup trucks and currently employs 9,468 employees, 8,917 of which are hourly employees. Many auto manufacturing suppliers are also located in Missouri, multiplying the importance of auto manufacturing to the Missouri economy and the impact of the UAW strike.



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