UAW workers voting on whether to authorize strike against Ford - WDRB 41 Louisville News

UAW workers voting on whether to authorize strike against Ford

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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Thousands of Louisville Ford workers made sacrifices to keep their jobs when the company was hit hard by the economy.  But now they are voting on whether to walk off the job if the automaker doesn't give them back some of those benefits.

Ford worker Tommy Hatzman says over the past few years he's been forced to give up a lot:  "It's probably cost us 30 to 40 thousand dollars a person in skilled trades, and I'd like to have a little bit of it back."

Todd Dunn, UAW 862 President, says, "The UAW workforce took a vested interest in seeing this company succeed."

Since 2008, when the auto industry was struggling through some of its darkest days, Ford workers have agreed to concessions on cost of living allowances, overtime pay, break time, and holiday wages.  But now the tide seems to have turned.  "We're going to try to get everything back that we can," Brove says.  "I don't see us getting everything back."

Ford's latest earning report shows the company made $2.6 billion in net profits during the first quarter of this year and $2.4 billion last quarter.  Jay Brove keeps those numbers in mind when he talks about asking for some of his benefits back.  "The last time they tried to get us to give up something, the word was already out about how much they made that quarter.  So when we pretty emphatically told them, 'No,' they got the point then and they knew, we're tired of giving up."

The current contract between the UAW and Ford expires on September 14th.

As negotiations are underway in Detroit on a new contract, UAW leadership wants to bring another bargaining chip to the table -- the threat of a strike.

The authorization to strike is what Louisville Ford workers are voting on Monday and Tuesday.  But many are confident talks will never break down to that point.

However, they still want that threat in their corner.  National UAW leadership has given local branches until September 2nd to vote on the strike authorization.  Louisville Ford workers have through tomorrow to weigh in.

Voting continues at both the Fern Valley Road UAW Hall and the Union Hall on Chamberlain Lane through Tuesday evening at 5:00.

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