Transcript of UAW President Gary Jones’s Remarks
Ford Motor Company Handshake Ceremony
July 15, 2019
Ford World Headquarters
Good morning UAW Brothers and Sisters, fellow UAW board members and the members of our great bargaining councils.
Good morning members of the Ford leadership team. It is great that Bill Ford has joined us for this important event in our history … Thank you.
I’d like to start by recognizing the hard work of the UAW Ford Department, led by my Brother and friend, Vice President Rory Gamble, and the members of the Ford national negotiating committee.
It is an honor to be here today to represent the hardest working men and women who have made Ford Motor Company the great company it is today.
UAW members build the best products in the world.
Who are the loyalest of employees and who are — and always have been — Ford’s best customers.
So, today I come with a message from my Brothers and Sisters.
Ford Motor Company has seen years of growth and significant profitability since the 2015 negotiations.
And I have heard loud and clear — at every Ford plant and local I visit — that they expect to share in the profits that their hard work and dedication has made possible.
We’re seeing record profits for our American companies, but, sad to say, those gains aren’t translating to our worker’s gains.
In fact, the Big 3 are more profitable in North America than any of their competitors.
You all have the home advantage.
The home advantage that our members built.
But despite record corporate profits, we’ve been watching a Race to the Bottom over the past several years for working men and women in this country.
Despite record profits, labor is still being asked to take concessions. Our jobs have been outsourced to companies paying lower wages in the United States, Mexico, China and all over the World.
THIS MUST STOP.
So, I am here to say, loud and clear:
With this year’s negotiations, we will halt that Race to the Bottom.
We will protect our work, our jobs and our way of life.
We expect an agreement that recognizes our contributions to profitability and looks ahead with Ford Motor Company to a prosperous future.
And, as we look ahead, our UAW members expect to build the products of the future and be part of the manufacturing and automation processes that are on the horizon.
We are ready for the exciting new technologies that will redefine the auto industry.
We will bargain hard to ensure that UAW members are provided with the training, the tools and the safe environments to, as always, more than keep pace with the industry’s advancements.
The UAW has always embraced change and technology advancements.
We are excited to be part of the evolving workforce: EV propulsion and energy storage; autonomous vehicles and related components, new mobility businesses such as Argo and all joint ventures.
We want to work with you on joint ventures and partnerships and have a role in those discussions.
We saw beginning in January of this year, and the continued discussions, an alliance with Volkswagen in Europe. As you all are aware …Volkswagen was not friendly to the UAW in Chattanooga and we will look very hard and with great concern at any alliance with them or any other non-labor friendly company.
I’m sure more will come on this front.
We want to be part of this evolving business model.
And I’d like to point out here, and applaud that Ford Motor Company has chosen a business strategy, with great success, that keeps much of its North American production in the United States.
Of the Big 3, Ford sources much more of the vehicles it sells in the U.S. from the U.S.
And, our UAW Brothers and Sisters produce 100% of Ford’s great pickups.
We look forward to good negotiations and a good contract.
Our membership is standing strong.
UAW Brothers and Sisters are ready to do whatever is necessary to get the contract that, in this time of record profits, they deserve.
We also know that we will need to address the issues of temporary employees and outsourcing.
And we will take up the issue of progression and shorten that eight-year window that my brothers and sisters say — LOUDLY… is way too long to get to the top of the pay scale.
So, we kick off 2019 negotiations today.
And I say to everyone listening and everyone in this room.
We are the voice of the American worker.
The defenders of the Middle Class.
AND WE ARE READY TO TALK!
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