UAW Prez Gets It All Off His Chest, Slams Ford Motor Company

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams, due to retire in June, isn’t letting Ford Motor Company off the hook for its recent decision to send production of a key product south of the border. Actually, as union heads are wont to do, he’s not letting his government off the hook, either.

The question Williams would like Ford CEO Jim Hackett to answer is: what Mexicans are going to buy an electric Ford?

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Williams said he was “angry at Ford” for the unexpected decision, earlier this month, to shift production of its upcoming electric crossover from Flat Rock, Michigan, plant to a facility in Cuautitlan, Mexico.

“[Ford] has an opportunity to do something for the state of Michigan and the United States of America,” Williams said. “People in Mexico are not going to buy electric vehicles. And we desperately need high-paying jobs and technology here. I mean, 7% of vehicle cost is labor. How much do they need to make in profits?”

The 300-mile crossover in question, which Ford hopes will be an early class leader, was intended to start production at a retooled Flat Rock plant in 2020. While the production location has changed, it’s assumed the timeline hasn’t.

In a memo, Ford implied the switch to cheaper Mexican production was key to creating an “affordable,” “mainstream” electric vehicle in this class. Flat Rock, in turn, will become the center of Ford’s autonomous vehicle efforts, with a self-driving commercial hybrid vehicle being its first product. The automaker has pledged $150 million towards this product, expected in 2021.

With Ford choosing high-skilled work like autonomous vehicle development for the Rust Belt locale, Williams worries about blue-collar workers being left behind as traditional manufacturing moves south. If autonomy and electric vehicles are indeed the future, he says, both should remain American built. Ford disputes this, claiming U.S. self-driving vehicle production is beneficial to workers.

Not surprisingly, Williams reserved some harsh criticism for the Trump administration, the recently passed GOP tax bill (which he feels will increase outsourcing), and what he sees as a shortsighted government approach to industrial policy. Meaning that there isn’t any.

“We’ve got to have a higher level of education to meet the next generation of technology,” he said. “We’re being left behind for a lot of greed.”

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 22 comments
  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Dec 22, 2017

    All the future EV will be still tiny size vehicles other then Tesla models! Very few people what a subcompact size vehicles but that size all EVs manufacturers are gunning for other then Tesla! LOL! Plus, it has to look dorky too other then Tesla models!

  • D. Saxton D. Saxton on Dec 22, 2017

    The Union head is absolutely right. This move is taking technology away from the U.S to lower wage Countries like Mexico, at the cost to our own citizens employment stability. It's bad enough that Ford is moving their small car production out of the U.S. and sending it to China, but technology transfer should not be allowed if Trump means what he says about Making America Great Again, and bringing jobs back to the U.S.A. . I'm not a Trump supporter by any means, and it's examples like this that only reinforces my beliefs it's all just BS.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.
  • Big Al from Oz Musk and Trump are of the same ilk, except Musk's IQ is a damn site higher than Trumps. Musk like Trump is only into himself. Musk doesn't care about Trump only Musk. Musk sees more dollars if Trump wins.Hey, I'm Big Al again!3
  • Rover Sig We have a car with two fake exhausts in the bumper, but a large shiny muffler visible hanging down on one side, not aligned with the fake exhaust exits. Horrendous. I had to paint the shiny muffler with high-temp black paint to make it less visible. Exhaust pipes were meant to be round and hang below the bumper, and they can be made quiet or loud as the engineers like. But fake exhausts rank down there with fake intake vents on the side of that old Buick.
  • EBFlex Of course it does. What a silly question
  • Buickman Elon is a phony.
Next