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After George Floyd Death, a Big Ask by Ford Workers

Employee letter wants company to stop making police vehicles; that doesn't look likely
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2020 5:40 PM CDT
Ford Workers Ask Company to Stop Making Police Vehicles
The 2016 Ford Police Interceptor Utility is unveiled during a media preview at the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place in Chicago on Feb. 12, 2015.   (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

Ford Motor Co. makes about two-thirds of America's police vehicles, so a recent ask by some of the automaker's workers in the wake of protests over the death of George Floyd, racism, and police brutality is a significant one: They want the company to consider not making and selling police vehicles, including repurposed F-150s and a modified Explorer known as the Interceptor. "We, the undersigned employees, call for Ford to cease development, production, and sale of all custom police vehicles and products," reads a letter written by about 100 employees, some of whom are Black staffers with Ford's African-Ancestry Network, an employee resource group, per the Detroit Free Press and the Verge. "Our resources can and should be diverted to other forms of first response and public safety."

The employees say in the letter they want some kind of action by July 15, per Jalopnik, which notes that white employees joined their Black colleagues in penning the message. It's not exactly clear how this will play out, but signaling from top brass suggests that police vehicles will, for now, still be on the production lines. Ford CEO Jim Hackett wrote an internal response to employees on July 1, stating his support for racial justice, and also for first responders. "We will ... continue to be a powerful voice for Black Lives Matter, holding ourselves accountable for significant change, while also continuing to help keep communities safe by producing Police Interceptors and partnering with law enforcement in new ways to strongly support the safety for all members of society," Hackett writes (full letter here). Jalopnik's in-depth analysis of what's going on is worth a full read. (Read more Ford stories.)

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