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Louisville Ford workers to vote on new contract Sunday

Building with green roof and people standing in front
Jacob Munoz
LPM News
UAW workers and supporters attend a Louisville rally held outside Local 862's headquarters.

Around 12,000 hourly workers at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly Plant are voting Sunday on whether to approve a new contract. They’re members of the United Auto Workers union, which recently agreed to the tentative deal after striking for a month.

The UAW began its strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis in September, starting at one plant for each company.

It gradually added more facilities to its target list, and the union called about 8,700 Kentucky Truck Plant workers to the picket line on Oct. 11.

A month later, union members there and at the Louisville Assembly Plant are deciding if a new contract, affecting 57,000 hourly Ford workers, is good for them.

In a video message to members Wednesday, UAW president Shawn Fain said that top union leaders feel they’ve asked for as much as possible from the three automakers. He added that workers have the final say.

“I don’t decide your vote. The executive board doesn’t decide your vote. Your local leadership doesn’t decide your vote. You decide,” Fain said.

Todd Dunn, president of UAW Local 862, which represents hourly production and skilled trades employees at the two Louisville plants, said chapter leaders support the contract but aren’t telling workers how to vote.

“We want the membership to review the agreement as is and put that into perspective for them and their families, and vote accordingly,” Dunn said.

The vote Sunday is at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville.

Nurses who work at the Ford facilities will also vote there on a new national salaried contract, which was negotiated by the UAW alongside the hourly worker agreement.

Dunn said Local 862 represents 26 Ford nurses.

Attendees at a UAW Local 862 rally in Louisville signal support for the union's national strike on Sept. 21, 2023.
Jacob Munoz
Attendees at a UAW Local 862 rally in Louisville signal support for the union's national strike on Sept. 21, 2023.

Hourly Ford workers represented by different UAW locals across states have already begun voting on their tentative four-year contract, a process scheduled to last through Nov. 17. At least half of them need to vote “yes” in order for the deal to pass.

Results late last week showed a majority of voters were in favor of the deal.

The UAW made improving hourly wages, cost of living adjustments and job security some of its major negotiating demands.

According to the union, the new contract includes an immediate 11% general wage increase. A production worker making about $32 an hour would make more than $42 an hour by 2024.

It would also give union-represented Ford employees “rights to accept work” at upcoming joint-venture electric battery plants in Kentucky and Tennessee. While the UAW wants to be included in automakers’ shift to electric vehicles, and has made some progress, employees at the three plants will not immediately be represented by the union.

“We know our industry’s changing, and we know the billionaire class is seeing the dollar signs. They want to use this transition to electric vehicles as an excuse to drag down our standards,” Fain said Wednesday.The new contract also adds commitments to bring electric vehicle production to Louisville.

The Kentucky Truck Plant will work on hybrid versions of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles it already builds. The Louisville Assembly Plant will produce a new electric vehicle.

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

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