On March 18, 2021, a Facebook user shared what may have appeared to be big news in the auto industry. The post read: "17000 ohio Ford motor jobs are going to Mexico." It was copied and pasted by multiple Facebook users:
This was misleading. There was no indication that Ford Motor Company was sending "17,000" Ohio jobs to Mexico, although the vague Facebook post appeared to refer to events that had unfolded just days earlier. The claim was somewhat similar to a previously published story from 2016.
On March 16, Detroit Free Press reported that 1,700 hourly employees worked at a Ford plant in Avon Lake, Ohio. The number appeared to have been inflated to "17,000" in the Facebook post.
In November 2019, Ford had purportedly planned to later add 1,500 more jobs to the plant. However, in March 2021, the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union said that those additional jobs were now set to be part of a plant in Mexico.
When Detroit Free Press asked if Ford was planning to add those jobs in Mexico rather than Ohio, the company responded: "We have no additional details to provide at this time."
While the company didn't shed any light on that issue, the Free Press did receive a statement from the automaker. Kelli Felker is a global manufacturing and labor communications manager for Ford. "We are always looking at our options," Felker said.
"We still plan to invest $6 billion and create and retain 8,500 jobs in America during the course of this four-year contract," she said.
"We are invested in Ohio Assembly Plant and our dedicated workforce there. Since 2019, we have invested more than $185 million and created and retained more than 100 jobs at Ohio Assembly Plant, including actions planned for this year. This includes increasing our capacity to build additional Super Duty trucks at Ohio Assembly Plant to meet strong consumer demand."
In sum, it was misleading for the Facebook posts to claim that "17,000" Ford Motor Company jobs in Ohio were going to Mexico. In reality, 1,700 hourly employees work at a plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, and the future location of an expected 1,500 additional jobs remained unknown.
We are reaching out to Ford for clarification and will update this story should we hear back.