Nearly 9,000 workers walked out late Oct. 11 from the plant, which builds heavy duty F-series pickups and full-size SUVs.
In an unannounced move, 8,700 UAW members walked off the job at 6:30 p.m. ET Oct. 11, shutting down Ford Motor Company’s iconic and extremely profitable Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.
In a news release, the UAW said the strike was called after Ford refused to make further movement in bargaining.
The surprise move marks a new phase in the UAW’s Stand Up Strike. Previous expansions of the strike occurred at a deadline set in advance by the union. The move comes one day before the four-week mark since contracts expired at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.
“We have been crystal clear, and we have waited long enough, but Ford has not gotten the message,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “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.”
Local 862 members at Kentucky Truck Plant make the Ford Super Duty pickups as well as the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator.
Fain will host a Facebook Live at 10 a.m. Oct. 13 to give bargaining updates and take further action if needed.
Later Oct. 11, Ford released a statement on the strike's expansion to one of its most profitable plants, calling it "grossly irresponsible but unsurprising" of the union leadership given its stated strategy of keeping the Detroit 3 wounded for months through “reputational damage” and “industrial chaos.”
Ford said it made an "outstanding offer that would make a meaningful positive difference in the quality of life" for the 57,000 UAW-represented workers employed by the automaker, and added it has been bargaining in good faith the week leading up to the strike on joint venture battery plants.
"The UAW leadership’s decision to reject this record contract offer---which the UAW has publicly described as the best offer on the table---and strike Kentucky Truck Plant, carries serious consequences for our workforce, suppliers, dealers and commercial customers," Ford said.
Ford said its Kentucky Truck Plant is not just its largest factory, but one of the largest in the U.S. and even the world, generating $25 billion in revenue annually.
"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," Ford said.