Workers at one of Ford’s factories in Kentucky have voted against the recently proposed United Auto Workers (UAW) contract, following six weeks of historic strikes against the Big Three before the parties came to tentative agreements.
Ford Local 862 members across the automaker’s Kentucky Truck Plant have rejected the contract proposal, as reported by Automotive News on Monday. Roughly 55 percent of employees at the truck plant voted against the proposal, with around 4,100 votes cast total, representing under half of the factory’s labor force.
The local UAW chapter also represents workers at Ford’s Louisville Assembly, and 53 percent of employees at that plant voted in favor of the proposed contract, effectively approving it. Over half of the workers at the Louisville plant voted, totaling 1,648 people.
Workers at the highly profitable Kentucky Truck Plant joined strike efforts in mid-October. The plant is said to generate around $25 billion per year and it currently produces the F-Series Super Duty, the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator.
Later in October, workers at Ford’s Louisville plant were invited to select two-week periods of unpaid leave, though applications for the personal leave program were voluntary.
The contract proposal also includes plans to bring a new electric vehicle (EV) to Louisville under a larger $1.2 billion investment.
Despite the investment, plans for a Ford battery cell plant with LG in Turkey have been canceled, and former CEO Mark Fields recently warned that the “tough part” of switching to EVs was on its way. Ford also said during its Q3 earnings call that it was holding off on a $12 billion investment into EV manufacturing in North America.
The news comes after workers at a General Motors (GM) plant in Michigan voted against the contract proposal last week, highlighting that the tentative agreement is not guaranteed to pass.
In the coming weeks, the UAW will continue to hold votes for local chapters at Ford, GM and Stellantis plants to ratify the agreement. Bargaining lasted over a month against Ford, GM and Stellantis after previous union contracts expired, and it was the first time in history that the UAW lodged strikes against all three automakers simultaneously.
The proposed contract includes a wage increase of 25 percent over the four-and-a-half-year period before it expires in 2028, as well as top wages increasing gradually to 33 percent. It also includes cost-of-living adjustments (COLA), boosting wages even further alongside other restored benefits.