Ford workers in Kansas City reject UAW deal

Ford's Michigan assembly plant in Wayne, Mich., which has about 2,700 workers, was the first big factory to vote on the deal. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

UAW workers at one of the Ford plants that produces the F-150 pickup voted to reject the tentative labor deal between the automaker and the union.

Workers at Kansas City Assembly, represented by UAW Local 249, voted against the contract Sunday as 54 percent of production workers and 50.2 percent of skilled-trades workers turned it down, according to the local's Facebook page.

Kansas City Assembly, which would receive $200 million in investments under the tentative deal, builds the F-150 pickup -- which is crucial to Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. sales -- and the Transit commercial van. The F-150 also is produced at the Dearborn assembly plant in Michigan.

UAW Local 249 threatened to strike at the Kansas City plant in late September after it accused Ford of not negotiating “in good faith” during talks dating back to April. It called off the strike threat in early October.

The Kansas City vote was a setback in a race that has so far seen a majority of Ford workers that have had the chance to vote support the deal. About a quarter of Ford’s 52,900 UAW-represented workers have had the chance to vote so far.

The four-year deal would include an $8,500 signing bonus, a pay raise for veteran workers and a higher wage scale for Tier 2 workers. Ford would shift most of its car production to Mexico while building higher-margin trucks and SUVs in the U.S.

Ford was the last of the three major U.S. automakers to strike a tentative deal with the UAW, although only Fiat Chrysler has ratified a new contract. The UAW said last week it has re-entered talks with GM in order to resolve concerns from skilled-trades workers who rejected a tentative deal, even as production workers voted “yes.”

A majority of UAW Local 2000 workers at Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plant voted in favor of the deal Sunday. According to a post on the local chapter’s Facebook page, 51 percent of production workers and 55 percent of skilled-trades workers voted in favor of the deal. Ohio Assembly, which produces the medium-duty F-650 and F-750 trucks, would receive new production and $250 million in investments under the deal.

Ohio Assembly joins workers at Michigan Assembly, Chicago Stamping and several smaller plants in voting in favor of the deal.

Workers at Ford’s Buffalo Stamping Plant, represented by UAW Local 897, joined Kansas City Assembly in voting against the deal on Sunday. About 61 percent of production workers and 54 percent of skilled-trades workers turned it down, according to media reports. Workers at the Sterling Axle and Rawsonville plants in Michigan have also rejected the deal.

You can reach John Irwin at -- Follow John on Twitter: @JohnDIrwin

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