Washington, Oct 11 (EFE).- A strike by the leading US automobile workers’ union spread to Ford’s largest and most profitable assembly plant in the country on Wednesday.
Members of the United Auto Workers union (UAW) gather in front of the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant during the first day of a strike called in response to failed contract negotiations with the Big Three automakers – General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, the parent company of Jeep and Chrysler – in Detroit, Michigan, US, 15 September 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/DIEU-NALI CHERY
The United Auto Union (UAW), which began simultaneous strikes against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis in mid-September, announced that at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, the 8,700 workers at Ford’s Kentucky assembly plant would walk off their jobs.
The plant’s shutdown affects production of the company’s profit-driving F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks and Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs.
Vehicles produced at the plant generate $25 billion a year in revenue, according to Ford’s estimates.
“The surprise move marks a new phase in the UAW’s Stand Up Strike…The move comes one day before the four-week mark since contracts expired at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis,” the union said in a Facebook post.
“We have been crystal clear, and we have waited long enough, but Ford has not gotten the message,” UAW President Shawn Fain said.
“It’s time for a fair contract at Ford and the rest of the Big Three. If they can’t understand that after four weeks, the 8,700 workers shutting down this extremely profitable plant will help them understand it,” he added.
Ford described the decision to shut down the Kentucky plant as “grossly irresponsible but unsurprising given the union leadership’s stated strategy of keeping the Detroit 3 wounded for months through ‘reputational damage’ and ‘industrial chaos.’”
“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,” the company added.
The strike began on Sep. 15 with unprecedented, simultaneous walkouts at three assembly plants of Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers, as GM, Ford and Stellantis are known.
The UAW called the strikes after the deadline given by the union to the three major carmakers to reach a labor agreement expired.
Every week since then, the UAW has expanded the strikes.
As of Wednesday, some 25,000 workers were on strike at 43 facilities, including assembly plants and parts-distribution centers. EFE