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Ford pauses Michigan EV battery plant, union says decision is 'barely-veiled threat' to cut jobs

A Ford spokesperson said work on the factory is being paused "until we're confident about our ability to competitively operate the plant."

Published: September 26, 2023 11:25am

Ford is pausing work on its $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant over concerns that the automobile manufacturer will be unable to operate the planned Michigan factory competitively in a decision that the United Auto Workers union says is a "barely-veiled threat" to cut jobs amid a strike against the company.

Officials have not made a final decision on whether the plant, which is set to be located in southern Michigan near the town of Marshall, will become operational, Ford spokesperson T.R. Reid said, CNN reported Monday.

"We’re pausing work and limiting spending on construction on the Marshall project until we’re confident about our ability to competitively operate the plant," Reid said. "There are a number of considerations."

Ford is one of the "Big Three" automakers, alongside General Motors and Stellantis, that is facing a strike.

Auto union President Shawn Fain said on X, formerly Twitter, that the decision to pause construction "is a shameful, barely-veiled threat by Ford to cut jobs."

Electric vehicles have been a major topic of the union's strike because it takes less labor to assemble electric vehicles than it does to build gasoline-powered ones. 

"Closing 65 plants over the last 20 years wasn’t enough for the Big Three, now they want to threaten us with closing plants that aren’t even open yet," Fain also said. "We are simply asking for a just transition to electric vehicles and Ford is instead doubling down on their race to the bottom."

Follow Madeleine Hubbard on X or Instagram.

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