SHEFFIELD, Ohio — United Auto Workers and Ford Motor Company announced Thursday that 1,800 union jobs will be added at the Ohio Assembly Plant in Lorain County to assemble an all-new EV commercial vehicle. The creation of the new jobs, which doubles the plant's existing workforce, coincides with Ford's $1.5 billion investment at the plant, which stretches into the communities of Sheffield, Sheffield Lake and Avon Lake.
Watch the announcement in the media player below:
The planned investment of $1.5 billion in the Ohio Assembly Plant is part of a broader company investment into a number of Ford facilities across the Midwest, including Ohio, Michigan and Missouri. In total, Ford officials said 6,200 new union jobs would be created and an additional 3,000 temporary workers would be converted to full-time status and receive healthcare benefits on day one.
The announcement comes after the company said last year it planned to accelerate and scale the production of electric vehicles.
"You don’t beat the competition by waiting around. You don’t serve your customers by waiting around. We’re moving and we’re moving now," said Kumar Galhotra, the president of Ford Blue, the auto giant's EV division.
The new investments and additional jobs are part of the company’s plan for an all-new global Mustang coupe and Ranger pickup for North America, in addition to an all-new electrical commercial vehicle for Ford Pro customers. Elsewhere in Ohio, Ford said there will be an additional 90 jobs and $100 million investment between Lima Engine and Sharonville Transmission plants.
There are currently 7,000 Ford employees in the state. The Ohio Assembly Plant, where the new commercial electrical vehicle will be assembled, currently produces E-Series vans, medium-duty trucks and Super Duty chassis cabs. An estimated 1,700 hourly workers and 100 salaried employees currently work at Ohio Assembly Plant.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Ford's commitment to invest in its Ohio workforce proves that the state is uniquely positioned to become a leader in the manufacturing of electric vehicles.
"All the workers that you see behind us, the job that they have done for many, many years. It is one of the reasons that Ford was able to do this today," Gov. DeWine said. "Ford has confidence in the workers of Ohio. Companies will not expand and they will not come to a state where they don’t have confidence in the workers. We have a great business climate, low taxes, and we have decent regulations. We have all the things that companies need to come here and really the top thing though is workers. We have great workers."
Although the exact details of the economic incentives that the state has offered Ford still need to be finalized, officials told News 5 that the incentives are projected to be in the range of $200 million and come by way of a variety of tax credits. The creation of the new positions leads to a significant economic multiplier, officials said, because each job that Ford creates leads to a dozen new jobs in the broader community. The investments announced Thursday will lead to the creation of more than 70,000 new indirect jobs across the Midwest, Galhotra said.
Thursday's announcement began with newspaper headlines from 2007 — a time when the Ohio Assembly Plant's future was very murky. Despite the uncertainty, the plant's dedicated workforce continued to press onward, churning out the auto company's most popular commercial vehicles. That productivity continued well through the pandemic, Galhotra said.
"The workforce is absolutely phenomenal; what they did during the pandemic and what they’ve been doing for years. It’s a great day to invest more here and invest in this workforce," Galhotra said. "A vibrant workforce and a vibrant manufacturing economy is very near and dear to our heart and to our company. To make those investments right here in the US and in the Midwest, that’s what we’re going to continue to do."
Coupled with Intel's recent announcement that it will be building a multi-billion dollar semiconductor manufacturing facility near Columbus, Gov. DeWine said Ford's jobs announcement highlights the state's advantage when it comes to advanced, high-tech manufacturing.
"These are really jobs of the future. This is all about the future," Gov. DeWine said. "Ford’s commitment to Ohio and Ford’s commitment to electric vehicles, we want to be a big part of it. The announcement today is just a great announcement."
The announcement of new jobs in Ohio comes a year before 2023 contract negotiations. Ford and UAW will provide immediate healthcare benefits to all hourly workers and convert nearly 3,000 temporary employees to permanent full-time state ahead of schedule, according to a news release.
“This announcement is a testament to UAW members who contribute their skill, experience and knowledge to the success of Ford Motor Company,” said UAW President Ray Curry in a news release.“We are always advocating to employers and legislators that union jobs are worth the investment. Ford stepped up to the plate by adding these jobs and converting 3,000 UAW members to permanent, full-time status with benefits.”
Download the News 5 Cleveland app now for more stories from us, plus alerts on major news, the latest weather forecast, traffic information and much more. Download now on your Apple device here, and your Android device here.
You can also catch News 5 Cleveland on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube TV, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu Live and more. We're also on Amazon Alexa devices. Learn more about our streaming options here.