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Ford UAW members draw closer to striking

According to multiple sources including the Detroit News, the 42 Union Auto Worker’s Locals around the country were asked to place their votes on whether or not they are willing to go on strike and while not all of those Locals have reported their results, those who have announced their results are 97% in favor of walking out.

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The UAW leaders asked the 42 Local Auto Workers Unions around the country to vote by Friday evening on whether or not they were willing to go on strike after major Ford plants including the Dearborn Truck Plant, the Kansas City Assembly Plant and both of the company’s Kentucky plants (the home of the Super Duty and the future Ford Escape) voted overwhelmingly in favor of setting up picket lines. The key discussion point for the UAW is that they want Ford to be quicker in putting together the new labor contract and as the current contract expires on September 14th, the union isn’t happy with the current rate of negotiations. This shockingly high 97% decision in favor of voting does not mean that the workers that will definitely go on strike but with such a large group of the 41,000+ Ford hourly workers around the country showing that they are willing to walk out, this serves as a threatening bargaining chip against Ford. Should Ford continue to drag their feet with the new labor contract (in the UAW’s opinion), the automaker may be faced with a costly strike right when things are going smoothly for the strongest of the Detroit automakers.

Ford is the only automaker who has to be concerned about their union workers going on strike this year as the GM and Chrysler Group UAW members agreed to waive their right to strike as part of the negotiations around the 2009 bankruptcy process. The final step of the process is UAW President Bob King also giving the ok to strike but even that doesn’t guarantee a strike – provided that Ford puts a little more hustle into the current contract negotiations. Reports indicate that the key sticking point right now is that the Ford workers want regular annual raises while Ford (and the other American automakers) would rather offer profit sharing bonuses. Ford’s approach is that these profit sharing bonuses would be large and, provided that things continue going smoothly, the bonuses would end up being more profitable for the workers in the long run. However, the workers aren’t interested in taking that chance and they want their annual raised no matter how good or bad the company is doing. will continue covering the labor negotiations between Ford and their UAW workers, bringing you any developing stories as they become available.

Source: Detroit News

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