The United Auto Workers has targeted the one of Ford Motor Co.’s key assembly plants in Kansas City, Missouri, for a strike if bargaining doesn’t resolve key issues by early next week.
The Kansas City plant builds a number of variations of Ford’s F-150 pickup trucks, which is one of the most profitable vehicles built by the company in the United States. After a slow start, production of the new, aluminum F-150 is running at top speed now and a strike would quickly reduce inventories of new vehicles.
Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president in charge of negotiations with Ford, said the company had left the union with little choice but to intensify the dispute in a bid for a fair and acceptable agreement. The strike warning should not have any impact on the other negotiations at Ford, including the ongoing discussion for a new master agreement covering wages and benefits.
“I feel it necessary to inform you, I have given 120-hour (five days) notice to Ford Motor Co. that the extension of the collective bargaining agreement with regards to Kansas City Assembly Plant (KCAP) will no longer be in effect. Subsequently, I have made a formal request to President Dennis Williams for authorization to strike at Local 249, per their request, if their issues, with regards to their local agreement are not resolved by this expiration. Which has been granted,” Settles said in a note to union members.
(UAW-FCA tentative pact faces critical vote. For more, Click Here.)
“This action is necessary for two reasons. One, it honors a commitment your National Ford Delegates unanimously agreed to in March of this year, to have all local agreements completed simultaneous to the national agreement. Secondly, the company has failed to negotiate in good faith at the local level on issues surrounding manpower provisions, the national heat stress program and skilled trades scheduling amongst others,” he wrote.
Settles said the union faces many challenges right now. “I certainly cannot predict the future, but I would rather die fighting than to do an injustice to this membership or our institution,” he added.
(Click Here for more details about the tentative deal between FCA and the UAW.)
Settles assured members that the UAW was working diligently on their behalf, seeking increased job security and getting back many of the concessions made in 2009. He also noted that there are many questions and speculation regarding a possible deal, especially in light of the agreement reached with Fiat Chrysler that may not be ratified.
“I ask that you please do not read too much into the details of the FCA tentative agreement,” he said in the letter. “Many aspects of FCA’s current agreement are different than the agreement we currently have with Ford, such as attendance policy, work schedules, vacation language, discipline, job security, apprenticeship testing, and progression of entry-level to legacy pay rates to name a few.
“In addition, there have been instances in the past where Ford, FCA and GM have even had differing pay scales and rates. Until we have reached a tentative agreement, there is no way to guess what our contract will include,” he added.
(To see more about union activists calling for “no” vote on tentative deal, Click Here.)
The UAW is now in the midst of a bruising battle with union members over the tentative contract FCA U.S. The voting is expected to wrap up by the end of the week, Settles said.