Ford’s blockbuster announcement this week that it would build four sprawling new factories in Kentucky and Tennessee by 2025 and hire nearly 11,000 workers raised a big unanswered question: Just how good will those jobs be?

No one — not Ford, not the United Auto Workers union, not the future job holders themselves — yet knows how much the workers will be paid or whether they will vote for union membership.

Three of the plants, to be built with Ford’s South Korean corporate partner, SK Innovation, would produce batteries for 1 million electric vehicles annually. A fourth would make the next generation of electric F-Series pickup trucks, a version of America’s top-selling vehicle.

The new factories represent an $11.4 billion bet by Ford on a vision for the future in which tens of millions of drivers will shift from pollution-belching internal combustion engines to electric vehicles that emit nothing from the tailpipe.

The stakes are high for Ford’s employees as well as for the UAW, which is counting on ensuring union membership at battery factories to replace jobs that will be lost should the transition to electric vehicles happen as Ford and others envision.

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