Ford workers vote on contract - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ford workers vote on contract

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Will Ford drive more than a thousand jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars into Louisville?  Louisville Ford workers could decide whether a new national union contract passes.

Ford employees WDRB's Gilbert Corsey spoke to had differing opinions, which they expressed to him as at the United Auto Workers 862 union hall: 

"The economy is not worth...fighting right now," says Ford worker Chuck Kranz.

"When they made a promise they should have kept their promise," says Rebecca Pellillo."

Norman Lee is a 15-year Ford worker who was laid off last December:  "Yes means more than a contract," he says.  "Being laid off as long as I have, the money would benefit my family and myself to where it would allow us to maintain some bills."

Latest numbers show the four-year contract passing nationally with a 63 to 37 percent majority.  However, the ongoing votes in Louisville and at the Ohio Assembly Plant could tip the scale in the other direction.

Ford's offer is linked to a $660 million investment in Louisville.  It includes the production of a new vehicle and the addition of 1600 new jobs.  Norman Lee, for one, thinks he'll be brought back.

If the contract passes, workers get a $6,000 signing bonus and profit sharing, but no pay raises, and that's a deal breaker for some, such as Ford worker Jeff Redden:  "I'd rather have a raise than a bonus....That $6,000 bonus is great, today. But tomorrow, I'm back to where I was seven years ago."

But Chuck Kranz says, "You'll never get cost of living back.  You'll never get a raise in your paycheck, those days are done."

Kranz, though, maintains, "We've given a lot back but how do you fight with them?  If you think about it, we had 600 jobs open at our building and 10,000 applications.  Nobody is working."

Lee knows that all too well, and says he can't afford a strike.  Now it's in his colleagues' hands, "because I know they're going to call me back and I trust God for whenever he says it's going to happen."

Over the weekend, Ford union workers in Detroit and Kansas City passed the contract.  The vote continues in Louisville until 5 p.m. tomorrow

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