Ford Faced With Possible Strike
Ford Motor Co. has canceled a planned overtime shift this weekend at its F-150 plant in Missouri and is diverting frames for the pickups to its other F-150 plant in Michigan to avoid workers going on a strike this Sunday as they have threatened to do at the Missouri plant. Ford has added mandatory overtime shifts at the Michigan plant on Saturday, Oct. 3, and Sunday, Oct. 11, according to a memo from the plant’s chairman at UAW (United Auto Workers Union) Local 600 in Dearborn, Mich.
The UAW has set a strike deadline of 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo., where more than 7,000 workers represented by Local 249 build the F-150 and Transit van. The union says Ford has failed to negotiate “in good faith” on plant-specific issues including safety and scheduling. Ford and the union are at odds over working conditions in the plant here, where workers say temperatures can hit 115 degrees, resulting in heat seizures and other health issues. They also say the bathrooms are terrible, and claim that Ford has been unwilling to consider their complaints.
The Claycomo assembly plant in Missouri is one of Ford's largest and most profitable assembly plant. The 7,000 workers at the plant build the iconic Ford F-150 and the Ford Transit Van. Both of these models are seeing great sales and causing lots of overtime for the Claycomo assembly plant. Both plants in Missouri and Michigan have had issues building enough F-150's to meet demands since the massive redesign to the truck last year. Ford's supplier has had production issues only making things worse. As of right now both plants are short on frames for the aluminum bodied pickup trucks.
Ford executives say they are confident the matter can be resolved without any disruptions affecting the F-150. The F series is the automaker’s top-selling nameplate and biggest source of profits. Ford executives have declined to discuss any contingency plans being implemented.
The strike deadline is not directly related to negotiations between Ford and the UAW on a national contract covering more than 52,000 workers. Those talks have been paused since mid-September, when the union focused on reaching a deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles first. The UAW said Thursday that FCA workers soundly rejected their proposed contract, but it is unclear whether the union will return to the bargaining table with that company or shift to Ford or General Motors.