UAW Threatens to Strike at Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant
Facility That Builds F-150 and Transit Facing Safety, Manpower Issues
About 7,000 members of the United Auto Workers may strike at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant (KCAP) on Sunday due to what they perceive as a breakdown in contract negotiations. In an article broken by Automotive News, UAW Local 249, who builds the F-150 and Transit at KCAP, says the automaker has refused to address safety, seniority, and employment issues.
The union accused Ford of refusing to renegotiate terms of a local contract in good faith, and the company has three days to cancel its contract extension before a strike begins Sunday afternoon. In an online message to Local 249 members, union bargaining chairman Tom Hillyard said negotiators from Ford and the union had met more than 40 times since April to no avail.
The local union’s issues are unrelated to the talks between the Big Three and the UAW on a national level. KCAP’s problems, according to Local 249, involve manpower provisions, safety concerns relating to excessive heat, and scheduling for skilled tradesmen.
As we’ve reported before, Ford F-150 sales have been in something of a slump thus far this year. With the extensive model-year changeover between 2014 and 2015, dealer supply for the new aluminum-bodied F-series has been short, increasing demand in the short term but hampering overall sales.
Ford’s rollout of the new pickup is only recently in full swing, so a potential strike at one of the company’s biggest F-150 plants could set its sales back yet again. The F-series will likely be America’s bestselling vehicle once again, but perhaps by a smaller margin this year than in years past. Given the precarious sales position of the F-150, we’d say the bargaining pile is stacked in the union’s favor.
Source: Automotive News