UAW VP threatens strike at Ford F-150 plant – Detroit Free Press
UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles told Ford workers Tuesday they should expect a different national agreement than the one Fiat Chrysler workers are voting on this week and is threatening to call a strike at Ford’s plant in Kansas City, Mo., over disagreements with the automaker at that plant.
Settles, who is in charge of the UAW’s Ford Department, said he has issued a five-day strike notice at the Kansas City plant where the automaker builds the F-150, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. The automaker also makes the F-150 at its plant in Dearborn.
To conduct the strike, Settles needs permission from UAW President Dennis Williams and UAW Regional Director Gary Jones.
“This action is necessary for two reasons. One, it honors a commitment your National Ford Delegates unanimously agreed to in March of this year, to have all local agreements completed simultaneous to the national agreement,” Settles said in a statement. “The company has failed to negotiate in good faith at the local level on issues surrounding manpower provisions, the national heat stress program, and skilled trades scheduling amongst others.”
The strike threat by Settles comes as about 40,000 UAW members who work at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are close to rejecting a new four-year agreement that was reached earlier this month between the union and the automaker.
If the contract is ratified, every worker would get a $3,000 signing bonus, entry-level workers in assembly plants would see wages increase to a range of $17 to $25.35 per hour, and workers hired before 2007 would receive two 3% wage increases and two lump-sum bonuses over the life of the contract.
However, many workers are upset that the proposed FCA agreement doesn’t give entry-level workers a full path to the average $28-per-hour wage that workers hired before 2007 are paid. They are also frustrated with a lack of disclosure on the creation of a health care cooperative and the company’s refusal to spell out any details of sweeping changes to a product plan.
Settles told Ford workers the agreement he negotiates with the Dearborn automaker could be substantially different, even though the UAW traditionally uses the contract it negotiates with its lead target as a pattern for all three automakers.
“I ask that you please do not read too much into the details of the FCA tentative agreement. Many aspects of FCA’s current agreement are different than the agreement we currently have with Ford, such as attendance policy, work schedules, vacation language, discipline, job security, apprenticeship testing, and progression of entry-level to legacy pay rates to name a few. In addition, there have been instances in the past where Ford, FCA and GM have even had differing pay scales and rates.”
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