(The Center Square) – Ford says the walkout of 8,700 employees at its largest plant puts 100,000 others at risk.
The United Auto Workers strike against the nation’s Big Three automakers begins its fifth week Friday.
In a statement late Wednesday, Ford said the decision for UAW leadership to call on workers to walk out of its Louisville, Kentucky, plant Wednesday night was irresponsible but not surprising.
“Ford made an outstanding offer that would make a meaningful positive difference in the quality of life for our 57,000 UAW-represented workers, who are already among the best compensated hourly manufacturing workers anywhere in the world,” Ford said in a statement. “In addition to our offer on pay and benefits, Ford has been bargaining in good faith this week on joint venture battery plants, which are slated to begin production in the coming years.”
Union boss Shawn Fain, however, called the company’s offer the same as the one presented two weeks ago and said Ford is not taking the union seriously.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had to escalate our action,” Fain said in a Facebook video. “At this point, we had to take action. It’s unfortunate the company has put us in this position. If companies are not going to come to the table and meet the membership’s needs, we’re going to take action.”
Ford said that the Louisville plant produces the F-Series Super Duty, the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator and accounts for $25 billion a year in revenues.
“In addition to affecting approximately 9,000 direct employees at the plant, this work stoppage will generate painful aftershocks – including putting at risk approximately a dozen additional Ford operations and many more supplier operations that together employ well over 100,000 people,” Ford said in its statement. “The UAW leadership’s decision to reject this record contract offer – which the UAW has publicly described as the best offer on the table – and strike Kentucky Truck Plant carries serious consequences for our workforce, suppliers, dealers and commercial customers.”
The additional 8,700 union members on the picket line push the total number of striking workers to nearly 34,000 at more than 40 locations in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, California, Kentucky, Texas, West Virginia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Pennsylvania since the strike began Sept. 14.
Earlier this week, the UAW rejected a proposed contract by a 73% “no” vote and swore to strike Volvo-Group-owned Mack Trucks in three states. That vote against ratification of a new five-year collective bargaining agreement covering about 3,900 employees in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida.
Also on Monday, more than 300 striking auto workers at Ford’s Brook Park, Ohio plant prepared today for layoffs.