The United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union has expanded its strike against Ford, this time targeting the Blue Oval brand’s largest and most profitable production facility. The announcement, officially made yesterday at 6:30 p.m. ET, affects 8,700 UAW members at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville. The facility is one of two Ford assembly facilities in Louisville, and produces the Ford Super Duty pickup truck line, as well as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.
“We have been crystal clear, and we have waited long enough, but Ford has not gotten the message,” said UAW President Shawn Fain 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.”
According to a report from Automotive News, which cites a Ford source with knowledge of the negotiations, the UAW told Ford yesterday afternoon that it wanted a counteroffer on economic issues by 5 p.m. The union then called for a meeting at Ford headquarters at 5:30 p.m., which was attended by the UAW’s entire bargaining committee, including UAW President Fain.
When Ford officials said they did not have a full counteroffer on economics, Fain reportedly stood up and said, “You just lost Kentucky Truck Plant.” The meeting apparently took less than 10 minutes.
“The decision by the UAW to call a strike at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant is grossly irresponsible but unsurprising given the union leadership’s stated strategy of keeping the Detroit 3 wounded for months through ‘reputational damage’ and ‘industrial chaos,’” Ford said in a statement, citing a series of leaked UAW messages. Ford’s Super Duty line is considered to be one of the automaker’s most important, with Ford stating that its Super Duty trucks generate more revenue than Southwest Airlines, Marriott International, and Nordstrom reported in 2021.
Just last week, the UAW said that GM narrowly avoided a shutdown of its production facility in Arlington, considered the most-profitable vehicle assembly line in the world, due to GM’s decision to include Ultium Cells battery plant workers in the national UAW contract.