After $1.7B taxpayer subsidy, Ford to lay off workers



(The Center Square) – After Michigan taxpayers gave $1.75 billion for Ford’s Marshall electric vehicle factory, the company will lay off workers.

Michigan gave the money under the promise of creating 2,500 jobs, but the company cut 3,000 jobs last summer and expects a $3 billion loss on EVs in 2023. After those job cuts, a Ford spokesman said the company has nothing to announce.

“As we have said, part of the ongoing management of our business includes aligning our global staffing to meet future business plans, as well as staying cost competitive as our industry evolves,” a Ford spokesman said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the layoff projections.

Also this month, the Department of Energy awarded Ford a $9.2 billion loan for three battery plants in the South.

EV manufacturing requires less human labor compared to creating vehicle with internal combustion engines, and the state is heavily subsiding production.

John Mozena, president of the Center for Economic Accountability, a nonprofit organization advocating for transparent economic development policy, said the automakers “are never going to employ more people than they do today.”

“There will be more robots in factories and more AI tools in R&D labs or office towers doing jobs that human workers used to do,” Mozena wrote The Center Square in an email. “Given that basic reality, why are Michigan’s politicians continuing to throw billions and billions of dollars at automakers in the name of job creation, when the future of the industry has nothing to offer but job elimination?”

Michigan also offered EV battery component maker Gotion up to $1.1 billion in subsidies counting state, local and utility incentives, which includes a 30-year tax break to the company – benefits which aren’t offered to small businesses in Michigan, Mozena said.

“If I were a small business owner in some other industry in Michigan, I’d be furious that my elected officials were taking money from me that I could be using to grow my business, and instead sending it to politically connected giant corporations so that they could hire some low-wage battery plant workers while laying off thousands of white-collar employees at the same time,” Mozena wrote.

Michigan’s ask of Ford – to mass produce affordable, efficient EVs- is a challenging task. Only about 25,181 EVs are registered statewide, despite the state spending $110 million on charging stations, added onto $318 million of EV subsidies in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2024 budget. In the meantime, Mozena says that Michigan deserves leaders act on behalf of Michiganders, not auto lobbyists.

“Michigan deserves leaders who’ll do what’s best for the people of Michigan, not just what automaker lobbyists tell them to do,” Mozena said.

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