UAW May Strike at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant, Disrupting F-150 Production
Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri is under threat of strike by the UAW Local 249 if the automaker and union cannot come to an agreement before Sunday, October 4, 2015. According to UAW leaders, Ford had failed to resolve issues surrounding worker safety, wages, and other employment issues.
The union has accused Ford of not negotiating in good faith to resolve the issues in a timely manner, and therefore has created a deadline of 1 pm local time on Sunday. If an agreement is not reached by that time, nearly 7,000 workers will stage a walk-off.
Despite the lack of an agreement, the automaker and UAW have reportedly met more than 40 times since April to discuss the issues. “We work every day to avoid a disruption of our production,” Ford said in a statement to Automotive News, “and we are confident we will be able to negotiate a fair and competitive labor agreement with our UAW partners.”
According to Jimmy Settles, the UAW vice president, the issues include “manpower provisions, the national heat stress program, and skilled trades scheduling, amongst others.” Other reports detail the issues to be a safety concern regarding excessive heat exposure, scheduling for skilled tradesmen, and provisions for manpower at the Kansas City Assembly Plant.
In the event Ford and the UAW do not come to an agreement, a strike at the KCAP could spell disaster for Ford’s supply of new F-150s and Transit vans. Ford has already been dealing with a slow supply of the F-150 thanks to parts supplier issues. Any additional delays could result in dramatically reduced inventories at the dealership level.
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Why it matters
Unions have become a big part of the auto making business and Ford has seen its fair share of issues over the years. This latest skirmish hits home for UAW members since it regards their personal safety, their ability to earn competitive wages, and how they are scheduled to work. With just as much skin in the game, Ford cannot afford to lose any more production volume on its F-150.
The pickup is well known to be the brand’s bread and butter, the sales of which accounts for a sizeable percentage of its profits. Slowing or halting production would drastically impede the dealership’s supply of trucks and cut the steady flow of sales revenue into Ford’s coffers.
Read more about the Ford F-150 here.
Source: Automotive News