- Union makes show of strength at plant critical to company
- Local deal covers working conditions, not wages, benefits
Ford Motor Co. averted a strike at a Missouri factory that builds its profitable F-150 pickup when the United Auto Workers union reached a settlement with the company on a local contract.
The agreement, which must still be endorsed by the plant’s 7,500 workers, came at 11:08 p.m. Friday, Jimmy Settles, the union’s vice president of its Ford Department, said in a post on Facebook. Negotiators had faced a deadline of noon Sunday to reach a deal.
“Earlier this week, I gave Ford Motor Company 120-hour notice of our intention to strike at the Kansas City facility if a tentative agreement for their local contract could not be reached,” Settles said in the post. “Thankfully, with this evening’s announcement, that action has been averted.”
The local agreement at the F-150 plant covers working conditions and doesn’t include wages or benefits, which are still to be negotiated as part of a national contract. The deal at a plant critical to Ford’s fortunes gave Settles an opportunity to make a show of strength before final talks over the national deal. Workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV this week rejected a tentative national agreement by a nearly 2-to-1 margin and some criticized UAW President Dennis Williams for being too close to FCA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne.
“Working with our UAW partners, we have resolved the open items at Kansas City Assembly Plant and have agreed to a tentative local agreement,” Kristina Adamski, a spokeswoman for Ford, said in a statement. “Plant operations will continue as scheduled.”
Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president for U.S. marketing, said on a conference call Thursday that the company’s inventory of the F-150 was 100,000 at the end of September, up from about 92,000 at the start of the month, as production of the aluminum-bodied pickups increases.
UAW leaders will meet with Fiat Chrysler to discuss whether they can reach a new deal before moving on to Ford and General Motors Co., the Detroit Free Press reported today, citing a union document it obtained.
(An earlier version of this story corrected the number of workers at the plant.)