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Ford halts work on EV battery plant in Michigan — union calls it a 'barely veiled threat' to cut jobs amid strike
Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company Bill Ford (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Ford halts work on EV battery plant in Michigan — union calls it a 'barely veiled threat' to cut jobs amid strike

Ford Motor Company announced on Monday that it has halted construction on a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan.

Earlier this year, Ford unveiled plans to build a facility in Marshall , Michigan, that is expected to employ 2,500 workers. Once completed, it would be the nation's first automaker-backed lithium iron phosphate battery plant. It was slated to begin production in 2026.

Lithium iron phosphate, also referred to as LFP, batteries are a lower-cost option to nickel cobalt manganese batteries currently used by the automaker. Ford announced that it would offer both battery options in its EVs to allow customers to choose performance features that best align with their lifestyle.

"We are committed to leading the electric vehicle revolution in America, and that means investing in the technology and jobs that will keep us on the cutting edge of this global transformation in our industry," Bill Ford, Ford executive chair, said in February. "I am also proud that we chose our home state of Michigan for this critical battery production hub."

On Monday, Ford stated, "We are pausing work and limiting spending on construction on the Marshall project until we're confident about our ability to competitively operate the plant."

"There are a number of considerations," a Ford spokesperson told the Associated Press . "We haven't made any final decision about the planned investment there."

Ford has been criticized for China's involvement with the planned Michigan plant. Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., a China-based company known for its LFP expertise, would supply Ford with technology, equipment, and workers to operate the U.S. facility, the AP reported.

Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns about Ford's plan, including that the battery plant could force the automaker to depend on Chinese technology.

Meanwhile, Ford is currently negotiating contracts with the United Auto Workers union. The group launched a strike against America's Big Three automobile manufacturers earlier this month after contract negotiations fell through by the union's deadline.

UAW President Shawn Fain called Ford's decision to pause the Michigan plant "a shameful, barely veiled threat by Ford to cut jobs."

"We are simply asking for a just transition to electric vehicles and Ford is instead doubling down on their race to the bottom," Fain added.

Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer addressed the automaker's announcement.

"Ford has been clear that this is a pause, and we will continue to push for successful negotiations between the Big 3 and UAW so that Michiganders can get back to work doing what they do best," Whitmer stated.

In Ford's most recent statement regarding contract negotiations, the automaker said it is "working diligently" with the union to close a deal.

"Although we are making progress in some areas, we still have significant gaps to close on the key economic issues. In the end, the issues are interconnected and must work within an overall agreement that supports our mutual success," Ford said Friday.

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