UAW members in Kentucky vote to reject new deal with Ford 

November 13, 2023

United Auto Workers (UAW) members in Kentucky have voted against a tentative labor agreement between the union and Ford Motors that aims to end a months-long strike.  

Ratification of the deal was voted down by 55% of the production workers at a Louisville assembly plant and other Kentucky truck plants. By contrast, 69% of the skilled trades workers, which includes maintenance and construction workers, voted in support of the deal. 

The vote signals that overall approval of the deal is not guaranteed, though 70.7% of the total votes cast at Ford’s various facilities so far have been in favor of the deal, according to a UAW vote tracker. 

The UAW strike  began at midnight on September 15, targeting a small number of plants from each of the Big Three automakers—Ford, General Motors and Stellantis—rather than undertaking a nationwide walkout of all union members at the same time. By October 23, the number of UAW workers who’d walked off the job had grown to about 40,800.

Ford was the first of the Big Three to strike a deal with the UAW, on October 25. It reportedly includes an immediate 11% wage increase upon ratification of the agreement, which also  includes 25% in base wage increases through April 2028. It further includes a more-than 30% raise in the current top wage of $32.32 an hour; the new top wage will exceed $40 an hour.

It additionally includes a starting wage increase by 68%, to over $28 an hour over the life of the contract, according to the UAW. And the lowest-paid temporary workers would see pay rises of more than 150% over the period. The deal also includes improvements for current retirees, workers with pensions and workers who have 401(k) plans. And in a first for the UAW, the Ford deal includes a right to strike over plant closures.

GM and Stellantis came to roughly similar agreements with the UAW on October 30.

This past Friday UAW members at a GM assembly plant in Flint, Michigan also voted against their proposed contract with that automaker.

PHOTO: Strikers at UAW Local 862 in Kentucky

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