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UAW threatens to strike Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant over local contract issues

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Feb. 16, 2024
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Feb. 16, 2024 04:00

(CBS DETROIT) - The United Auto Workers is threatening a strike at Ford's most profitable plant if local contract issues aren't resolved by next week. 

On Friday, the UAW said that nearly 9,000 autoworkers at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant are prepared to strike at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 23 if local issues remain. 

The local contracts differ from those that the UAW was striking over last year and deal with plant-specific issues.

"The core issues in Kentucky Truck Plant's local negotiations are health and safety in the plant, including minimum in-plant nurse staffing levels and ergonomic issues, as well as Ford's continued attempts to erode the skilled trades at Kentucky Truck Plant," the UAW said in a release.

 In addition, there are 19 other open local agreements across Ford and several at General Motors and Stellantis

This comes after UAW President Shawn Fain criticized Ford CEO Jim Farley over his comments about thinking carefully about where the company builds vehicles in the future. 

"Our reliance on the UAW turned out to be we were the first truck plant to be shut down," Farley said. "Really, our relationship has changed. It's been a watershed moment for the company. Does this have business impact? Yes."  

Fain responded, saying, "Maybe Ford doesn't need to move factories to find the cheapest labor on Earth," he said. "Maybe it needs to recommit to American workers and find a CEO who's interested in the future of this country's auto industry."

The UAW ended its six-week strike at the end of Oct. 2023 after reaching agreements with Detroit's Big Three automakers. 

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