Ford has temporarily laid off hundreds of workers at a Michigan plant where the UAW is on strike

Ford Motor Co. said it has furloughed 600 non-striking workers at its assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan. A historic strike by the United Auto Workers Against the big three automakers.

The union launched targeted plant walkouts, along with the General Motors plant in Wentzville, Missouri, and the Stellandis plant in Toledo, Ohio. A new labor contract with automakers by Thursday night’s deadline.

Ford said in a statement that the layoffs in Wayne are linked to the UAW strike, marking the first time in union history that strikes have begun at three automakers simultaneously.

“These layoffs are the result of a strike in the final assembly and paint departments of the Michigan Assembly plant because these 600 employees build components that use electro-coated materials for safety,” Ford said in a statement Friday. Electro-coating has been completed in the paint department which is on strike.

Wayne, Michigan, with A population The suburb, about 17,000 people and 45 minutes west of downtown Detroit, is made up of mainly blue-collar and middle-class families. The Ford plant employs about 3,300 workers, most of whom build Bronco SUVs and Ranger pickup trucks.

UAW President Shawn Fine visited the Wayne plant on Friday and said the strike would continue until Ford, GM and Stellandis (which owns foreign brands such as Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, as well as Peugeot and Opel) raise workers’ wages and improve job security.

UAW union members picket outside the Ford Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan on September 15, 2023.

Matthew Hatcher/AFP via Getty Images

Pete Crouch, 56, who has worked at the Wayne factory for 25 years, said working on the assembly line is “exciting, and there’s no time.”

“If someone takes a day off in the finals [assembly]It takes two people to do the job, sometimes three because the jobs are so heavy,” he added.

Crouch said there is a divide among employees between those earning higher tiers of pay and those earning less. That’s because managers tell lower-tier employees they’ll move them to the upper tier when a higher-paid employee retires, but that rarely happens, he said.

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Tensions were high at the plant in the weeks leading up to the strike, Crouch said. On Thursday night, workers represented by Local 900 of the UAW worked small jobs and were eager to see how labor negotiations would play out, he said.

“We sat up all night until 10pm when Fine decided to attack half of our plant,” he said.

Crouch said managers allowed employees to walk off their jobs shortly after Fein chose their union to strike.

“We were confined to the canteen till midnight [and] Then they let us go out,” he said. “No one was allowed to go on the ground at that time.”

Pete Crouch has been an employee at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan for 25 years. He poses for a picture with UAW President Shawn Fine after Local 900 began a strike against the Big Three Detroit automakers on September 15, 2023.

Pete Crouch

Once outside, chants of support for the strike began, Crouch said, noting that the younger workers were generally more animated, while the more seniors took the scene quietly.

Fine did not say why UAW leadership chose the Wayne plant to strike. That’s because workers at the facility also make parts for seven other plants in the Midwest that produce dashboards for the Ford Escape, F-250 and F-350 vehicles and the F-150, Crouch said. Wayne’s parts-making side is still operating, but the union may ask those workers to leave as well, Crouch said.

“If Ford doesn’t negotiate after a week or two, they’ll close the rest of the plant,” he predicted. “That would close six or seven plants.”

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