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Louisville Ford employees returning to work after tentative UAW deal

UAW workers and supporters attend a Louisville rally held outside Local 862's headquarters on September 21, 2023.
Jacob Munoz
UAW workers and supporters attend a Louisville rally held outside Local 862's headquarters on Sept. 21, 2023.

The United Auto Workers union and Ford Motor Company reached a tentative bargaining agreement Wednesday night after months of negotiations. That means about 8,700 employees at Louisville’s Kentucky Truck Plant are no longer on strike.

Hourly employees at the plant walked off the job on Oct. 11, in a bid by the UAW to put bargaining pressure on Ford. Now they’re beginning to head back to work.

Employees left the picket line Wednesday night, according to UAW Local 862 president Todd Dunn.

He said Thursday morning that some workers, like team leaders, were already back at the plant, but that operations aren’t back to normal.

“It’s just a ramp back up to run type of thing,” Dunn said.

Ford confirmed late Wednesday it had reached an agreement with the UAW.

“We are focused on restarting Kentucky Truck Plant, Michigan Assembly Plant and Chicago Assembly Plant, calling 20,000 Ford employees back to work and shipping our full lineup to our customers again,” the company said in a statement.

The Kentucky Truck Plant was staffed by salaried employees during the strike, which helped prevent Ford’s other local facility, the Louisville Assembly Plant, from stopping production.

Local 862 represents about 12,000 total hourly workers at the two city plants.

The union has been negotiating new four-year contracts with Ford, as well as with Stellantis and General Motors, since July.

But after the parties couldn’t reach agreements by a mid-September deadline, the union went on strike at one facility at each of the three companies. It has gradually added more locations, such as the Kentucky Truck Plant, to its strike.

National UAW leaders said in a video Wednesday that the union’s deal with Ford includes an immediate 11% wage increase. Starting wages and top wages will increase by about 68% and 33%, respectively, over the life of the agreement.

UAW President Shawn Fain said in the video that Ford’s offer increased in value by 50% since the strike began.

“We told Ford to pony up and they did. We won things nobody thought was possible,” Fain said.

UAW Ford leaders, including Local 862’s Dunn, will meet in Detroit on Sunday to vote on whether to send the deal along to workers. If that happens, more details of the contract will be shared publicly.

Dunn said Louisville Ford workers would vote on ratifying the agreement on Nov. 12.

The strikes against GM and Stellantis continue.

Jacob is LPM's Business and Development Reporter. Email Jacob at jmunoz@lpm.org.

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