Ford Motor Co. "has decided it will not honor its promise" to add new product to the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake and, instead, the autoworker intends to farm out jobs to Mexico, wrote a top UAW leader to union officials in an angry two-page letter dated Friday.
"Ford management expects us to hang our heads and accept the decision. But let me be clear, we are making a different choice," wrote Gerald Kariem, UAW vice president of the Ford Department since January 2020. "We 100% reject the company's decision to put corporate greed and more potential profits over American jobs and the future of our members."
The letter written on union letterhead, which copied UAW President Rory Gamble and the labor organization's two top lawyers, said Ford is expected to honor its contractual commitments to UAW members "and when it fails to do so we will take action."
At the start of the 2019 contract negotiations, Kariem wrote, the bargaining team focused on job security and keeping manufacturing in the U.S. He noted that UAW Local 2000 worked hard to get Ford to commit to a $900 million investment to revitalize the plant near Cleveland for a product to be added in 2023.
An estimated 1,700 hourly employees work at the plant, which is referred to as OHAP, the UAW told the Free Press.
"The agreement outlined an exciting vision for the complete revitalization of the OHAP facility that would secure OHAP employment well into the foreseeable future," Kariem wrote. "These contractual commitments were an enormous win for the UAW, for the great state of Ohio, the community of Avon Lake and most importantly the members of Local 2000."
In November 2019, the Ohio press reported that Ford had committed to the $900 million investment and 1,500 new jobs to OHAP.
The plant builds the E-series Vans, Super Duty chassis cabs and medium-duty trucks.
Ford said Tuesday the issues of concern surfaced during the Q&A portion of a recent web chat with plant employees. Kelli Felker, Ford global manufacturing and labor communications manager, declined to discuss details of who was involved in the web chat.
The union apparently was caught by surprise.