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UAW Strike: Whoops, There Goes Kentucky!
Guess Ford should have come to the table.
Four weeks into the strikes, and the Big Three are still holding out, still somehow under the impression that this is just all going to work out for them somehow, still slowly turning into corn cobs.
Negotiations between Ford and the United Auto Workers union had been productive this week, with conversations largely focused on battery plants — like the agreement reached with GM — and retirement security.
However, on Wednesday afternoon, the union told Ford that they wanted a new offer from them on the table by 5 p.m. and scheduled a meeting at 5:30 p.m.
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It only lasted about 10 minutes.
When Ford said it didn’t have an offer for them on economics, UAW president Shawn Fain got up, said, “You just lost Kentucky Truck Plant,” and walked out. Because he’s a badass.
And he took 8,700 workers with him, bringing the total number of striking UAW workers to around 34,000.
“We have been crystal clear, and we have waited long enough, but Ford has not gotten the message,” Fain said in a statement. “It’s time for a fair contract at Ford and the rest of the Big Three. If they can’t understand that after four weeks, the 8,700 workers shutting down this extremely profitable plant will help them understand it.”
The Kentucky plant manufactures Ford Super Duty pickups, the Ford Expedition, and the Lincoln Navigator. It is worth noting that all of these cars cost more (some twice more) than an hourly assembly line worker at Ford would make in an entire year ($34,673).
Ford is already hurting, and has put out a statement criticizing the UAW for hurting them so, because don’t they know that the Kentucky plant alone brings in $25 billion a year?
The decision by the UAW to call a strike at Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant is grossly irresponsible but unsurprising given the union leadership's stated strategy of keeping the Detroit 3 wounded for months through "reputational damage" and "industrial chaos.” […]
Kentucky Truck is Ford's largest plant and one of the largest auto factories in America and the world. The vehicles produced at the Louisville-based factory - the F-Series Super Duty, the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator - generate $25 billion a year in revenue. In addition to affecting approximately 9,000 direct employees at the plant, this work stoppage will generate painful aftershocks - including putting at risk approximately a dozen additional Ford operations and many more supplier operations that together employ well over 100,000 people.
As UAW organizer Chris Brooks pointed out on social media, this means that the company is losing $48,000 every minute the plant remains closed. This, again, is more than an hourly assembly-line worker makes in a year. $14,000 more.
Ford really tried to present the workers and the union as being “ungrateful” because they have put a better offer on the table than Stellantis or GM and because they continue to do their manufacturing in the United States.
“This decision by the UAW is all the more wrongheaded given that Ford is the only automaker to add UAW jobs since the Great Recession and assemble all of its full-size trucks in America,” the statement ended, just to make things truly grotesque.
It’s so cute that Ford thinks this line is still going to work, as if they still live in a world where people think any corporation does anything — including employing Americans — purely out of the goodness of their own heart.
At some point they’re gonna have to get with the program and realize that this whole “Oh, the workers are so ungrateful! Won’t anyone think of the job creators?!?” thing doesn’t fly anymore. We’ve seen what happens when these corporations get what they want — and it is very clear that it’s not actually working out very well for anyone but stockholders and executives. The sympathy river just isn’t running their way anymore.
Their best bet is to get a deal to the table that the UAW finds acceptable before they shove their feet even further into their own mouths.
Bonus Walkout Content!
More Perfect Union reports that Amazon workers at the Staten Island facility, the only unionized Amazon warehouse in the country, have walked out in demand for better wages.
And on Prime Day no less!
This comes after the company gave workers a paltry $1 raise. The workers feel that, since they are working in a factory with conditions so dangerous as to have prompted a federal investigation, they should probably be making a living wage. That sounds fair, no?