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UAW strike expands to Ford truck plant in Kentucky

The United Auto Workers union expanded its strike to Ford’s Louisville plant Wednesday night, sending 8,700 workers out of work at a plant that accounts for about a sixth of the company’s global sales.

The UAW said it took the action because Ford “refused to make further progress” in contract negotiations. The timing was unexpected, since the UAW has announced its strike decisions on Fridays since walkouts began nearly a month ago.

Wednesday’s walkout brings the total number of UAW strikers at the Big Three automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis — to about 33,700, or about 22 percent of unionized workers at Detroit automakers.

The Kentucky plant is Ford’s largest in the world, where it builds the highly profitable F-Series Super Duty trucks, as well as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. Its production generates annual sales of $25 billion, according to Ford.

“We have been very clear and we have waited long enough, but Ford did not get the message,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a statement. “It’s time to get a fair deal at Ford and the rest of the big three. If they can’t figure that out after four weeks, the 8,700 workers who will close this extremely profitable factory will help them figure it out.”

Ford, in a statement, called the decision “blatantly irresponsible but unsurprising given union leadership’s stated strategy of keeping the Detroit 3 injured for months due to ‘reputational damage’ and “industrial chaos”.

The company called its current proposal to the union, which includes a 23 percent pay increase over four years, “an exceptional offer that would make a significant positive difference in the quality of life of our 57,000 workers represented by the UAW, who are already among the best.” hourly manufacturing workers around the world.

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