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: Ford pauses work on $3.5 billion EV battery plant in Michigan

Ford Motor Co. said late Monday it has halted work on a $3.5 billion battery factory in Michigan, just days after the carmaker made concessions to its striking workers.

“We’re pausing work and limiting spending on construction on the [Marshall, Mich.] project until we’re confident about our ability to competitively operate the plant,” a Ford F, +1.21% spokesperson said. “We haven’t made any final decision about the planned investment there.”

Ford said in February it was investing $3.5 billion to build the facility in Marshall, about 100 miles west of Detroit. The plant, which Ford called BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, is part of Ford’s “commitment to American manufacturing,” the company said then.

The plant was expected to employ about 2,500 workers at the start of production, scheduled for 2026. The $3.5 billion investment is part of Ford’s commitment to invest more than $50 billion in electric vehicles globally through that year.

Employees in some parts of a Michigan Ford plant making Broncos and Rangers have been on strike since Sept. 14, part of a first wave of United Auto Workers’ labor action also hitting one plant each of General Motors Co. GM, +1.47% and Stellantis NV STLA, -0.57% after the union’s contract expired without progress in the negotiations.

Read more: UAW strike: 5 things to know

The UAW on Friday expanded the strike to 38 GM and Stellantis distribution centers across 20 states, but didn’t extend the labor action at Ford because it said it had won some concessions for the automaker, such as a return of cost-of-living adjustments.

Ford was showing the UAW that it was “serious about reaching a deal,” union leadership said at the time.

The strike comes at a time the legacy automakers are stretched thin to make investments in EVs, with batteries an especially critical — and pricey — components.

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