The United Auto Workers (UAW) union’s President Shawn Fain criticized the United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) for offering a conditional commitment to provide a $9.2 billion loan to Ford and SK On’s BlueOval battery plant joint venture.
According to Fain, the federal government’s $9.2 billion loan to Ford would create 7,500 low-road jobs without considering wages, working conditions, union rights, or retirement security. In summary, the UAW president believes that Ford-SK’s loans would “enrich Ford shareholders” but shortchange communities and UAW members.
“In the past five years, workers who build GM products in Lordstown, Ohio, have had their lives turned upside down as they were forced to retire, quit or uproot their families and move all over the United States when GM closed their plants despite massive profits.
“Their jobs were replaced in GM’s new joint-venture battery facility with jobs that pay half of what workers made at the previous Lordstown plant. Not only is the White House refusing to right this wrong, they’re giving Ford $9.2 billion to create the same low-road jobs in Kentucky and Tennessee,” Fain wrote in an official UAW statement.
In December 2022, Ford officially broke ground on the $5.8 billion BlueOval SK Park in Glendale, Kentucky. The joint venture is expected to produce 5,000 jobs in the region. The Ford-SK battery plant is expected to help increase the legacy automaker’s electric vehicle output to 2 million units annually. It is expected to start production by 2025.
On June 23, 2023, the Ford and Korean battery supplier SK On joint venture announced it was offered a $9.5 billion loan from the U.S. DOE. Ford-SK BlueOval joint venture will boost the legacy automaker’s battery manufacturing business in the United States. Automotive battery manufacturing has become a hot topic since the Biden Administration set its eyes on building an electric vehicle supply chain in the United States.
BlueOval SK is excepted to sign a formal loan agreement before the end of the year. The funds will come from the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which offers loans to projects related to fuel-efficient vehicles or eligible component manufacturing in the United States.