‘This local will be ready’: Louisville UAW workers ready to strike ahead of Friday deadline

UAW workers say they’re ready to strike and a detailed plan is already set in place if they join the picket line Friday.
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 11:55 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - UAW Local 862, which represents thousands of workers at the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant and the Kentucky Truck Plant, held a rally Thursday to support the UAW workers that are currently on strike against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis.

Right now, the UAW strike is limited to a Ford assembly plant in Wayne Michigan, a GM factory in Wentzville Missouri, and a Stellantis plant in Toledo Ohio.

However, UAW President Shawn Fain has threatened to call on more plants to go on strike if negotiations don’t make significant progress by noon Friday. Louisville UAW workers say they’re ready to answer the call.

“Remember 2009 when we stood up to protect you? Now you need to stand up, come to the table for these workers,” UAW Region 8 Director Tim Smith said. “It’s about these workers. They deserve it. Record profits? CEOs making millions if not billions? It’s about these workers.”

Smith said he was part of the decision to authorize a strike if necessary. He said he’s been in contact with Fain and as soon as they’re given the word, the Ford plant and Kentucky Truck Pant are ready to strike.

“If we make the decision tomorrow to strike KTP or LAP, this local will be ready,” Smith said. “And most of all, the membership will be ready to do what we got to do to get a fair contract.”

UAW workers say they’re ready to strike and a detailed plan is already set in place if they join the picket line Friday.

“Picket signs are ready to go,” David Firkins, a bargaining representative for the Kentucky Truck Plant, said. “They’re already made up. The strike captains are already aware.”

Firkins said if the Kentucky Truck Plant goes on strike, union members will be picketing 9 gates with 15 people at each gate. He says another 200 people will be at the Louisville Assembly Plant Union Hall and the additional workers can earn their strike pay by volunteering for four hours with Metro United Way.

Union members say they’re not backing down on the union’s points of negotiation, which include eliminating pay tiers and restoring cost of living adjustments, even as the companies announce layoffs due to the strike.

“We’re always worried about layoffs because our members get affected. Their families get affected,” Smith said. “But GM, Ford, and Stellantis have got to do what they’ve got to do, and we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do for our members.”