Ford President and CEO Jim Farley isn’t too optimistic when it comes to the development of electric vehicles, sharing on Thursday that the company may not be able to give employees wage increases as anything that “prevents us from investing in this transition to EVs” may leave them bankrupt.
Farley appeared on CNN’s ‘The Lead’ where he gave the not-so-optimistic take. The CEO came on the show to address the ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) who are demanding a 40 percent increase in hourly wages over five years.
Per The Daily Caller News Foundation, the UAW handles around 150,000 autoworker contracts that expired at midnight on September 14 and is negotiating with the Big Three automakers of Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, to get the increase in wages. The calls for a strike began back in August and have officially begun with the termination of contracts.
The Ford CEO defended himself and the company for not agreeing to the terms of the UAW, saying that if they agreed to these same terms in the past, the company would have long since gone bankrupt. He also voiced his frustration, saying that Ford has provided the largest pay raise offer in the history of the company but has yet to get a meaningful response from the union.
Farley was eventually asked why it was okay for CEO’s of these companies to see a 40 percent pay increase in four years but not for the workers to see that same kind of compensation which he countered firstly by saying he wasn’t CEO four years ago but also pointing to the upwards of 20 percent raise that they’ve offered.
He put plainly that if a 40 percent pay raise for all the workers is the only thing that is agreeable it will bankrupt the business and necessitate closing plants and cutting staff. He claimed the necessity of pushing forward on the electric vehicle path and providing the raises would prevent the company from doing that.
“There’s a fine line here that we won’t go past, which is, we want everyone to participate in our success,” the CEO said. “But if it prevents us from investing in this transition to EVs and in future products like the ones we have now like a new F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., then everyone’s job’s at risk if we don’t invest. So, there’s a line. The line isn’t for us to go bankrupt. The line is somewhere in the middle, and the only way to resolve that is to actually negotiate.”