Ford and UAW reached a tentative local agreement at Kentucky plant

Credit: Ford

The United Automotive Workers (UAW) have come to a tentative local agreement at a Ford factory in Kentucky, after the union threatened to put the site’s almost 9,000 workers on strike last week if a deal wasn’t reached.

Earlier this month, the UAW threatened to launch a strike at Ford’s most profitable manufacturing facility, the Kentucky Truck Plant, if an agreement wasn’t reached by February 23. The union said that Ford had failed to come to an agreement with the UAW Local 862 chapter at the Louisville factory, even after five months had passed since the last contract deadline.

Last week, the UAW and Ford reached a tentative agreement to narrowly avoid the Friday strike deadline, according to a press release from the UAW. While it’s not entirely clear what agreements the parties came to, the union’s issues with the factory related to health and safety, ergonomics and skilled tradespersons at the facility.

In addition to the aforementioned issues, the threat of a strike came after Ford CEO Jim Farley recently alluded to being more careful about where the U.S. automaker would build factories in the future, and amidst concerns of some companies “nearshoring” production and moving manufacturing into other parts of North America.

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

UAW President Shawn Fain responded to Farley’s note, adding that the CEO should instead focus on supporting U.S. workers in future endeavors.

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

Even following the historic six-week strikes that led to tentative national agreements with Ford, Stellantis and General Motors in the fall, dozens of local contracts remain open, according to the UAW. Although the UAW managed to ratify national contracts with the automakers, the local contracts can be slightly different than those, often focusing on region- or plant-specific issues.

In addition, the UAW has since launched union drives at a number of other automakers with U.S. facilities that aren’t unionized, including Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai and others, still.

UAW officially launches union drive at Tesla, other automakers

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Ford and UAW reached a tentative local agreement at Kentucky plant
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