Ford and its joint venture partner SK On are implementing higher wages at their planned EV battery factories in Kentucky and Tennessee in an attempt to appease striking autoworkers. The joint venture, known as BlueOval SK, is offering increased wages for maintenance technicians and associate maintenance technicians, with hourly rates ranging from $24 to $37.50 based on experience. These positions are currently available at BlueOval SK’s battery plants in Stanton, Tennessee, and Glendale, Kentucky.
BlueOval SK conducted a comprehensive wage and benefit benchmarking study to determine the appropriate compensation for employees. In addition to higher wages, hourly employees will also have the opportunity to receive regular pay increases every six months and be eligible for bonuses of up to 5% annually, depending on their position and performance.
The United Autoworkers (UAW) have made significant progress in negotiations with automakers GM, Ford, and Stellantis, securing wage increases between 20% and 23%, guaranteed cost of living adjustments, and a faster path for temporary employees to achieve full-time status. However, one major issue that remains unresolved is the inclusion of present and future joint venture EV battery plants in the four-year master agreement with automakers.
The UAW has already succeeded in securing this concession from GM, with UAW President Shawn Fain stating that the inclusion of electric vehicle battery production work in the national master agreement is a significant victory for the union. The UAW expects similar outcomes at Ford and Stellantis.
Despite Ford and SK On’s efforts to address wage concerns, the strike by autoworkers continues, and the UAW has expanded the strike to include Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant. The UAW’s demand for the inclusion of EV battery plants remains a key sticking point in reaching a comprehensive agreement.
Sources: BlueOval SK, United Autoworkers (UAW)