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Ford, UAW reach tentative deal for Kentucky Truck Plant, averting Friday strike

Breana Noble, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers local representing employees at Kentucky Truck Plant reached a tentative local agreement Wednesday morning, averting a strike at the Dearborn automaker's largest and most profitable plant.

The Detroit-based union confirmed the deal in a news release. Members still need to ratify the agreement. The UAW on Friday had said the roughly 9,000 workers at the plant in Louisville,, Kentucky, would go on strike this Friday, if a deal wasn't made. The plant produces profit-heavy Ford Super Duty pickup trucks, Ford Expedition full-size SUVs and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.

Townhalls to go over the agreement are set for the end of this week with question-and-answer sessions expected to be held next week. Tentatively, ratification voting will happen from Feb. 28 to March 1, Local 862 President Todd Dunn said.

It'd been more than five months since the contract deadline for an agreement with Local 862, the union previously said. Issues that still were being discussed were around health and safety, including minimum in-plant nurse staffing levels and ergonomic issues, and skilled trades staffing. The tentative agreement addresses those issues, according to the UAW.

 

“We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract with UAW Local 862 covering Kentucky Truck Plant and 8,700 valued UAW-Ford employees," spokesperson Jessica Enoch said in a statement. "Ford is the No. 1 employer of UAW-represented autoworkers and 2024 is one of our biggest-ever new product launch years in the U.S. — with the all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator launching in Kentucky, the new F-150 and Ranger in Michigan and the new Explorer and Lincoln Aviator in Illinois.”

The strike warning came a day after Ford CEO Jim Farley suggested that the Dearborn automaker is rethinking its U.S. footprint after the union opted to strike at the Kentucky plant last fall, making it the first truck factory hit during the UAW's targeted strike amid 2023 contract talks. At the time, the automaker said the plant generated about $25 billion a year, which is a seventh of Ford's 2023 global revenues. The 41-day "stand-up" UAW strike last year at Ford cost the automaker $1.7 billion in profit.

Another dozen local contracts remain under discussion with Ford, General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV.


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