News Story

Recipient of $65M confident Marshall project will resume

Since Monday, three top officials have portrayed Ford pause as a tactic in UAW negotiations

On Monday, Ford Motor Co. announced it was pausing construction on BlueOval Battery Park in Marshall. The next day, the Michigan Strategic Fund granted $65 million to an economic development group in Marshall for site preparation at the industrial site, a collaboration of Ford and a Chinese company called CATL. The CEO of that economic development group said he is confident the project will develop in time.

“We are aware of the current pause on work and we remain confident of the enormous potential of Ford’s BlueOval Battery Park project to create local opportunities and thousands of local jobs,” said Jim Durian, CEO of the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance, the recipient of the $65 million grant.

Durian added: “We hope current negotiations between Ford and the UAW conclude in a mutually beneficial manner and we remain confident this project will continue as planned once these negotiations are complete.”

With that statement, Durian became the third official to link Ford’s announcement to UAW negotiations, along with UAW President Shawn Fain and Quentin Messer Jr, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and chair of the fund.

Fain, the union head, called the Ford pause a shameful and barely veiled threat against striking workers. He said this even though it’s far from settled that the 2,500 jobs at BlueOval Battery Park would be union labor.

Before the board of the strategic fund approved the $65 million grant, Messer reassured colleagues that the show would go on.

“We fully expect that Ford will continue to develop (the) BlueOval Battery Park Michigan site and we need to allow the Ford Motor Co. and UAW to continue their negotiations,” Messer, chairman of the strategic fund and head of the MEDC, told the board Tuesday.

All told, the $3.5 billion project could have already received as much as $270 million in corporate welfare of the $1.7 billion pledged by lawmakers.

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.