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Ford, UAW avert Kentucky Truck Plant strike with tentative deal

Workers in red t-shirts stand in front of building with large green roof and yellow lettering that says, "LOCAL 862"
Jacob Munoz
UAW workers and supporters attend a Louisville rally held outside Local 862's headquarters on Sept. 21, 2023.

Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers said Wednesday they had reached a tentative local agreement at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville. The deal comes days before union-represented workers could’ve gone on strike at the plant.

Last Friday, the United Auto Workers union threatened to strike at the Kentucky Truck Plant — Ford’s most profitable plant globally — over key issues around health and safety and skilled trade jobs.

The move would’ve seen nearly 9,000 hourly employees at the Louisville site walk off the job on Friday. They make F-series pickup trucks as well as large SUVs.

On Wednesday, Ford and UAW representatives said they’d settled negotiations.

“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract,” a Ford spokesperson said in an email.

The UAW said in a press release that the deal responded to “core issues of concern to KTP autoworkers.”

Union-represented workers at the plant will have to vote to approve the deal before it can take effect. They’re part of UAW Local 862, which represents around 12,000 total Ford workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant and the Louisville Assembly Plant.

Todd Dunn, the union chapter’s president, said Wednesday that Kentucky Truck Plant employees are expected to vote on the agreement sometime next week, once details are shared with them.

“I would hope that we could share that information as early as sometime tomorrow afternoon, about the exact times and dates,” he said.

Dunn said local contracts establish workplace rules, such as how jobs can be bid on, the size of teams and break policies. He added that a major union priority during the latest round of negotiations was to ensure medical personnel were always available for workers. UAW and Ford reached a local contract agreement at the Louisville Assembly Plant in January, according to Dunn, who said the potential Kentucky Truck Plant strike gave the union leverage in talks.

“The level of cost to Ford Motor Company, if there were a strike, especially over a local agreement, would be really lopsided,” Dunn said. “It would be a poor choice to not complete the agreement to the best of our ability on both sides.”

The union’s strike threat came months after Kentucky Truck Plant workers walked off the job for two weeks during stalled national contract negotiations. Non-union salaried employees kept the plant operating, which prevented the Louisville Assembly Plant from shutting down.

A new four-year national contract for Ford union workers was approved in November. While a majority of employees nationwide who cast votes agreed to the deal, Kentucky Truck Plant members voted against it.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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

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