Following a massive nationwide General Motors strike — which impacted employees in Wentzville — Ford has proposed a $6 billion investment in several plants while in negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW).
The proposal includes a $400 million investment in the plant located just outside Kansas City, Missouri. The proposed contract between Ford and UAW would be “significant” for Kansas City’s economy, Bob Jacobi, executive director of the Labor-Management Council of Greater Kansas City, said.
“Continuing investment in the plant gives Ford a strong incentive to continue providing viable products for the plant and steady business for area suppliers,” Jacobi told The Missouri Times. “The pay increases and bonuses in both the Ford and GM contracts will boost the area economy as well. The auto industry continues to be a critical part of the area economy and will be for years to come.”
The assembly plant in Claycomo employs about 7,250 employees, including approximately 6,900 hourly workers. It opened in 1951 and produces the Ford F-150 and Transit cargo van.
The proposed investment included a new F-150 and stampings as well as a new Schuler press. The Transit would continue, and an electric version of the van would be added to the plant.
“The workforce at the Claycomo plant has been among the most highly productive in the industry for years, and while the union [Local 249] there is assertive, it also has long recognized the benefits of labor-management cooperation for both sides,” Jacobi, a professor at Rockhurst University, said. “That has helped attract continued investment and important products from Ford.”
“The continued stability at the plant likely cements their engagement for years in the future.”
Ford would also invest in several plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Chicago.
The $6 billion investment is expected to equate to 8,500 new or secured jobs in the U.S., according to the UAW.
The negotiations between UAW and Ford come after a nearly six-week strike of General Motors workers. A $1.5 billion investment into the Wentzville plant was included in the negotiations. That particular plant was part of a massive workforce development bill pushed through the General Assembly in the spring, designed to lure an expansion.
“A key factor in both contracts is that newer hires and temporary employees will get not only wage increases but firmer tracks to stable careers. That will allow them to invest more in housing and vehicles that ‘middle class’ workers are able to do, further stabilizing the community,” Jacobi said.
In a statement, Ford confirmed a tentative four-year agreement has been reached with the UAW but did not provide further details.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.