Oct. 16 (UPI) — Ford Motor Co. executive chair Bill Ford has issued a plea to the United Auto Workers (UAW) union to bring the strikes to an end, presenting an opportunity for a mutually beneficial deal.
The great-grandson of the automaker’s founder called on the UAW to halt the strikes impacting Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Chicago Assembly Plant in Illinois, and Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville. These strikes have affected over 19,000 workers.
“It is within our power to stop this now,” stated Ford. “We must unite and bring an end to this contentious phase of negotiations. I am still optimistic about a bright future that we can collectively build. The automobile industry remains a significant force for good in our country.”
Ford emphasized that the current disruptions caused by the UAW are placing the so-called “Big Three” automakers (Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis) at a disadvantage compared to non-union shops and Asian automakers.
“The UAW’s leaders have portrayed us as adversaries in these negotiations. However, I will never consider our employees as enemies,” Ford expressed. “This is not a battle between Ford and the UAW. It should be Ford and the UAW standing together against competitors like Toyota, Honda, Tesla, and the emerging Chinese companies seeking entry into our market.”
Ford’s statements followed UAW President Shawn Fain’s announcement on Friday that the union had entered a new phase of the strike, eliminating the restriction of calling out more workers only on Fridays and allowing for potential strikes at any time.
In the latest development, the Kentucky plant was included in the strike, a move Ford Motors deemed “highly irresponsible.” It also warned of severe consequences following the UAW’s rejection of their most recent offer.
The proposal had included wage increases ranging from 23% to 26%, protection of platinum healthcare benefits, signing bonuses, the reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments, and additional benefits.
As of now, no new offer has been presented by the company.