UAW strike escalates with walkout at largest Ford factory

October 12, 2023

The United Auto Workers (UAW) escalated its nearly monthlong strike significantly Wednesday night with a walkout at Ford’s largest factory, in Louisville, Kentucky.

About 9,000 workers walked off the job around 5:30pm Wednesday. Their plant builds the heavy-duty Ford F-Series pickup trucks and large Ford and Lincoln SUVs. The vehicles they build generate about $25 billion in annual revenue, according to Ford Motors. 

More UAW members were also threatening Jeep maker Stellantis Thursday morning.

“Here’s to hoping talks at Stellantis today are more productive than Ford yesterday,” UAW President Shawn Fain posted on social media around 7:30am ET Thursday.

The strike against the Big Three automakers—General Motors, Ford and Stellantis—began at midnight September 15 when contract agreements to cover the union’s 145,000 members could not be reached. 

Over the past month, the UAW has been targeting a small number of plants from each company rather than undertaking a nationwide walkout of all union members at the same time. 

On Monday UAW members at Mack Trucks, which is owned by Volvo, also joined the walkout.

The Louisville workers’ walkout at Ford brings the total of the UAW’s striking workers to about 34,000, or roughly 23% of the union’s members.

This past Friday, Fain announced an agreement with GM to bring all General Motors’ electric vehicle (EV) battery plants under the union’s national master agreement, but he added that negotiators were continuing to secure deals on other sticking points, including wage increases and retirement security. 

In a statement, Ford called the Louisville walkout a “grossly irresponsible” expansion of the strike. The company has said it has made strong wage and benefit offers to the UAW, adding that the latest move puts about a dozen other Ford facilities at risk, as well as parts supply plants that together employ over 100,000 people.

Fain was set to host the latest in his series of livestream announcements at 10am ET on Friday.

PHOTO: UAW walkout Wednesday at Ford’s Louisville plant

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