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'People will lose jobs,' UAW Local 12 official concerned about future towards electric vehicles in Toledo

As Stellantis announced the production of two-fully-electric Jeeps Thursday, UAW Local 12 members fear the changes could impact thousands of automotive jobs in area.
Credit: Trent Croci

TOLEDO, Ohio — Toledo is an automotive powerhouse but as the industry transitions to more electric-powered vehicles, members at UAW Local 12 fear this could lose thousands of jobs.

"People will lose jobs, you have plants that build the exhaust systems right now and people who build our radiators and all those different components that are not in those electric vehicles," President, Bruce Baumhower said.

Baumhower said while the Jeep Plant already produces hybrid models, the complexity of fully-electric vehicles can affect the supplier plants.

He wants to work with the city now to focus on electrification in the battery division to create a battery plant in Toledo before Stellantis plans to convert half of U.S. sales to electric by 2030.

"Developing the infrastructure first for it and recruiting some company to make the investment right here in Northwest Ohio to make those batteries," he said.

City of Toledo's Mayor, Wade Kapszukiewicz celebrated the groundbreaking of the New Toledo Trade Center today where he said it is expected to create hundreds of supplier jobs for the automotive industry and electric vehicles.

Kapszukiewicz also said they have a team in place ready to take on the transition to create a battery plant or park in Toledo he believes is of prime real estate.

"We have land in northwest Ohio that is controlled by the city, that has access to natural gas and other utilities in place that make it the most most attractive site for large scale economic development in the entire state," he said.

Lydia Mihalik, Director of Development of Ohio said the Trade Center project is meant to keep up with Toledo's strong history in the automotive industry too.

"It will allow new opportunities for the expansive of industries here for existing companies here in the Toledo, Lucas county region," said Mihalik. "But also new companies coming in to really help the revolution of new electric vehicles across the state."

A Stellantis spokesperson, Jodi Tinson said the company's announcement today will not have an impact on local production, and Baumhower said they are already working endlessly on Jeep's current products, so he is hopeful.

He said, "Stellantis has made it really clear they're fully enamored with their community and our workforce and with our relationship, so they will make that investment here, so we just have to get ready for it."

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