Now that the Union Auto Workers at the Dearborn Truck Plant and the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio have voted in favor of going on strike, it brings the total of plants looking to strike up to just five – but they are an important five. The first to vote was Ford’s biggest plant – the Kansas City Assembly Plant – followed by the two plants in Louisville Kentucky. The Kansas City plant builds Ford F Series pickups along with one of the plants in Louisville, which is also responsible for the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition. Now that the workers at the Dearborn Truck Plant have voted to walk out, the UAW has poised themselves to suffocate the production of the Ford F-Series pickup – the bestselling model in America. The fifth plant to give the nod to the strike is the Ohio Assembly Plant, which produces the array of Ford E-Series vans.
The good news for Ford Motor Company (if there is good news in all of this strike talk) is that votes to strike like these ones are pretty routine and they are often used more as negotiating chips. This affirmative votes to walk out by Ford’s UAW members does not guarantee that the plants will indeed have to face the strike but this shows Ford that the workers are serious about walking out if their demands are not met. Thus far, Ford has been reluctant to give in to the UAW demands, which include an immediate raise, annual cost of living considerations, and college assistance – among other things. Ford wants to avoid contracted annual pay increases because should the market fall apart like it did in 2008 and 2009, the automaker could be losing money while still having to pay the workers more and more.
The other side of the argument is the fact that Ford’s upper level management members have been granted millions of bonuses over the past few months, so it is tough for Ford to convince the workers that money is an issue. The current UAW-Ford contract ends on September 14th and as the date grows ever closer, the UAW has asked that ALL local union groups vote on a possible strike by the end of this week.
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