The UAW threw a curveball Wednesday night when it called on 8,700 union workers at Ford Motor Co.’s largest plant to walk off the job.
Local 862 workers at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville went on strike at 6:30 p.m. The workers make Ford Super Duty pickups (consumer and contractor models such as the F-250 and F-350 to commercial models that get converted into dump trucks and ambulances such as the F-450 and F-550), the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator. Ford officials said the vehicles produced at Louisville bring in $25 billion per year in revenue, about 17% of the company's $149 billion in 2022 automotive sales revenue.
Ford, in a statement late Wednesday night, called the Louisville strike “grossly irresponsible but unsurprising.”
The UAW strike of the Detroit 3 U.S. automakers—Ford, General Motors and Stellantis—hits the four-week mark on Thursday. The strike—called a “Stand Up Strike”—is targeted, meaning UAW leadership strategically calls up workers at a few specific plants to strike, rather than its entire membership striking at all plants at once. The stand-up strike is less of a drain on the union’s strike fund that pays striking workers $500 per week.
The UAW said its leadership called the strike after Ford refused to budge in the latest round of contract negotiations.
“We have been crystal clear, and we have waited long enough, but Ford has not gotten the message,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a 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.”
Ford, in its statement on the Kentucky strike, said that it had “made an outstanding offer that would make a meaningful positive difference in the quality of life” for its UAW workers. The automaker said it “has been bargaining in good faith this week on joint venture battery plants,” that are part of its future footprint.
Kentucky Truck is one of two Ford manufacturing plants in Louisville. The other, called Louisville Assembly, makes the Ford Escape small SUV. Taking down Kentucky Truck is a major escalation of the UAW's strike against Ford, but it still has room to inflict more pain on the company. Ford's Dearborn Assembly Plant in the Detroit area and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri, make the F-150 pickup, the most popular truck in America for the past 46 years.
Meanwhile, the strike continues with workers on the picket lines at the Ford assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, the General Motors assembly plant in Kansas City and Stellantis' Jeep plant in Toledo, as well as 38 General Motors and Stellantis parts distribution centers across the U.S.
Fain is scheduled to speak further on Facebook Live on Friday, October 13 at 10 a.m., the UAW said.
More UAW negotiations coverage:
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- UAW President Announces New Strike Targets
- UAW Workers Want Work-Life Balance. It's Exactly What the Industry Needs
- The UAW Strike Is a Test Case for Biden-omics
- UAW Expands Strike to 38 GM, Stellantis Parts Distribution Centers
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- UAW Strike Update—Ford, GM Lay Off Workers
- Opinion: UAW Punches Well Above the Belt in its Stand Up Strike
- UAW Strike All But Certain
- What’s the Deal with the UAW Contract Talks? Labor Negotiations Explained
- UAW Votes to Authorize Strikes Against Big Three
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