Ford's Electric Car Push Will Cost Jobs, UAW Believes
The union is worried that more electric cars could lead to more layoffs.
Following Ford's announcement that it would shift more resources to electric cars, the United Auto Workers has begun talks with the automaker about the potential impact of more electric-car production on jobs.
On Tuesday, Ford announced that it would cut spending by $14 billion, as well as move investments away from internal-combustion powertrains and sedans to focus on trucks and hybrid and all-electric powertrains. The UAW is looking into whether that shift will put jobs at risk.
"We've been doing our due diligence to find out how much it [electrification] means to us," UAW vice president Jimmy Settles, who also heads the union's Ford division, said in an interview with Automotive News. "We put them on notice early that we want to be part of the process."
In a presentation to investors earlier this week, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said electric cars will reduce "hours to build" by 30 percent compared to internal-combustion models. If a car takes less time to build, the carmaker won't need as many workers. Settles said he has met one-on-one with Hackett to discuss the issue.
"The assembly may be different, but he's not looking to eliminate any jobs," Settles said. The UAW and Ford have created teams to discuss future jobs, he added. One solution may be shifting union workers away from the assembly line to other areas. Settles noted that a new Ford data center announced in March could create new jobs.
This isn't the first time unions have raised questions about electric cars and jobs, and it probably won't be the last. Last year, Daimler labor leader Michael Brecht urged the automaker to produce as many electric-car components as possible in-house, in order to avoid losing jobs to outside suppliers.
The day before Ford announced its electrification investment strategy, General Motors announced that it would launch 20 new electric cars by 2023. There was no immediate response from the union, but it stands to reason that, like Ford's plan, GM's electric-car push will be scrutinized by the union.
- RELATEDFord Creates 'Team Edison' to Fast-Track Development of Electric CarsBut can Edison beat Tesla?READ NOW
- RELATEDFord F-150 Police Responder and Police Responder Hybrid Sedan Complete Michigan State Police TestingBoth vehicles are now officially pursuit rated and ready to withstand the grueling demands of patrol.READ NOW
- RELATEDFord, Ken Block, and Hoonigan Racing Leaving FIA World Rallycross ChampionshipAfter two years, Ford, Ken Block, and Hoonigan end their FIA World Rallycross race program.READ NOW
- RELATEDWhy Are People So Against the $100,000 Ford F-450 Super Duty Limited 4×4?Customers still have plenty of less expensive trims to choose from, so why not offer a $100,000 pickup?READ NOW
- RELATED1.0-Liter Three-Cylinder EcoBoost Engine Being Dropped from Ford Fiesta in the U.S.As the Fiesta sits on death row, it loses an engine option for the States.READ NOW