Kentuckiana workers vote on Ford contract; totals expected Tuesday

Todd Dunn
Todd Dunn
Matt Williams
Matt Williams

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Voting for a new nationwide Ford-UAW contract started in Kentuckiana at Monday morning and will wrap up late Tuesday afternoon. Local union representatives spent the past week and weekend answering contract questions as workers head in to vote.

"It's been a long week, a lot of late nights," said Todd Dunn, president of UAW Local 862. "I do know it seems like a higher turnout than in the past, more so than average."

That's about 5,700 workers in Kentuckiana. Here's where it gets interesting: the latest nationwide numbers show around the number of workers here favor the contract meaning Louisville could make or break a nationwide deal.

"I'm kind of in a bad spot. I feel like it's hard to say no to," Matt Williams, a Ford employee.

Williams has been laid off from Ford since June 2009 and has been called back as part of the company's Louisville expansion and will vote on the deal. Williams isn't happy with the contract, despite the lure of a $6,000 signing bonus.

"In this economy it kind of makes us look bad to say that's not enough," Williams said.

Williams also said the math doesn't add up. Holiday bonuses, overtime, and cost of living increases total more than that $6,000. He feels he's giving up too much at a time when Ford is doing so well.

"I'm going to go back and make less than I made 10 years ago, whereas these executives are making more than they've ever made and that just doesn't sit well with me," Williams said.

While this plan has Ford bringing foreign jobs back to America, the alternatives if this contract isn't approved may not be pleasant.

"They could still take work outside the country, they could still find people to do it for pennies on the dollar, but what we're trying to do as the UAW and labor union is bring work back into the U.S.," Dunn said.

UAW members from the two Kentuckiana Ford plants, the Kentucky Truck Plant on Chamberlain Lane and the Louisville Assembly Plant on Fern Valley Road, can vote through 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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