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UAW Strikes Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Labor Dispute

In a surprising move, the United Auto Workers (UAW) has expanded its U.S. strikes at Ford Motor to include a highly profitable SUV and truck plant in Kentucky. The strike began at 6:30 p.m. ET at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant, which produces Ford Super Duty pickups, the Ford Expedition, and Lincoln Navigator SUVs, employing 8,700 UAW members.

This escalation marks a shift in UAW’s strategy, as it did not publicly announce the strike target beforehand. The UAW informed Ford on Wednesday afternoon that it wanted a new economic counteroffer, followed by a meeting request. However, the meeting lasted less than 10 minutes, and the strike was initiated after Ford refused to make further movement in bargaining, according to the union.

Ford responded, calling the UAW’s decision “grossly irresponsible” and accusing the union of a strategy to keep the Detroit 3 wounded through “reputational damage” and “industrial chaos.” The strike puts additional operations at risk, affecting many more supplier operations and potentially impacting over 100,000 people.

The UAW, which has been gradually increasing strikes since September 14, now has about 34,000 U.S. workers, representing roughly 23% of its members covered by expired contracts with Detroit automakers who are currently on strike. The companies argue that the union’s messages and actions suggest a lack of interest in reaching a deal, while the UAW emphasizes its commitment to securing fair contracts.