The Ford truck plant in Louisville, Kentucky is one of its most important. Ford builds Super Duty pickups, the Expedition, and even the Lincoln Navigator SUVs there, which makes it one of its most profitable and valuable plants. Last night, the UAW launched a surprise tactic by ordering a strike, effectively shutting down the plant and sending 8,700 workers home.
“We have been crystal clear, and we have waited long enough, but Ford has not gotten the message,” said UAW President Shawn Fain in last night's statement. “It’s time for a fair contract at Ford and the rest of the Big Three. If they can’t understand that after four weeks, the 8,700 workers shutting down this extremely profitable plant will help them understand it.”
Early Wednesday morning, the UAW requested a meeting with Ford's bargaining committee for 5:30 p.m. The UAW wanted a new economic counteroffer from Ford by that meeting's time. According to CNBC, a source who chose to remain anonymous said the meeting only lasted ten minutes before Fain announced the strike at the Kentucky plant. In the UAW's statement, the strike was issued "after Ford refused to make further movement in bargaining."
In a statement, Ford said it "made an outstanding offer that would make a meaningful positive difference in the quality of life for our 57,000 UAW-represented workers, who are already among the best compensated hourly manufacturing workers anywhere in the world."
Ford also said that the strike "carries serious consequences for our workforce, suppliers, dealers and commercial customers," and that it could affect up to 100,000 workers throughout the supply chain. Ford also claims it's been bargaining in good faith over joint-venture battery plants, a major focal point during recent negotiations between the UAW and all three Detroit automakers. Last week, GM agreed to include its battery plant workers in the union negotiations.
The plant was opened back in 1969 and it is one of Ford's most active and profitable plants, along with its Rouge complex in Dearborn, the home of the F-150. Halting production is a big blow to the Blue Oval, which is already dealing with supply chain issues, recalls, and various other fiascos stemming from the pandemic shutdown and other woes.
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