News Bite

Ford’s UAW strike has ended; will BlueOval Battery Park resume?

Union leadership and state officials had linked pause to the strike

Last month, Ford Motor Co. pressed pause on a $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery facility in Marshall, called BlueOval Battery Park. The facility is a partnership with CATL, a Chinese company that claims to be the world’s largest EV battery manufacturer. All told, the project is in line for $1.7 billion in various state giveaways, from direct cash to tax abatements.

Almost immediately, UAW leadership and Michigan’s economic development apparatus linked that decision to the UAW strike, which began on Sept. 15.

The very next day after Ford announced the pause, the Michigan Strategic Fund, a board that grants corporate welfare, approved $65 million for the Marshall site. Those funds were granted to the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, whose leader, Jim Durian, told Michigan Capitol Confidential he is confident work on the project will resume.

On Wednesday, UAW President Shawn Fain announced a tentative agreement with Ford. The automaker with the most UAW members will soon have everybody back to work when the contract is ratified.

But even before the end of the strike was announced, the Marshall alliance said it had hired water and wastewater contractors for the site, adding that site prep work is ongoing.

This raises the question: Will “pause” turn to “go” at BlueOval Battery Park? A CapCon query to Ford spokesman Mark Truby went unanswered.

Earlier this week, Ford announced it was pausing $12 billion of EV projects companywide and is forecasting a loss of $4.5 billion on EVs in 2023.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.