United Auto Workers members at three key facilities in Kentucky and Michigan have voted to reject their respective contracts with Detroit-Three manufacturers, raising concerns about the union’s efforts to move on from its six-week strike.
Production workers at Ford’s Kentucky truck plant and Louisville Assembly Plant have voted against the automaker’s offer, which included, among other things, a 25% raise and improved benefits. Ford was the first of the Detroit-Three to successfully negotiate a deal with United Auto Workers leaders, which then became the basis for near-identical agreements with Stellantis and General Motors. While UAW chief Shawn Fain has endorsed Ford’s offer, 55% of the company’s production teams at the two Kentucky facilities voted against ratification. Although skilled trade workers in the state overwhelmingly supported the deal, the local UAW chapter has yet to confirm the final tally.
General Motors has encountered similar pushback on its offer to the union. Employees at the company’s Flint Assembly Plant, based in Michigan, also voted against the automaker’s contract. However, union members in the state were more split than those in Kentucky, rejecting the proposal with a narrow margin of 1.8%. General Motors had arguably the most contentious battle with United Auto Workers negotiators and was the last of the Detroit-Three to reach a deal.
Currently, it does not appear that the union is on track to reject contract offers at Ford, General Motors, or Stellantis. According to the United Auto Worker’s tracker, 70.7% and 58% of the votes cast at Ford and General Motors, respectively, have favored ratifying the current agreements. However, multiple factories have yet to conclude the ratification process.
The decision to reject contract offers in Michigan and Kentucky suggests that member support is weaker than it may have appeared at the end of the strike. Should more workers decide to vote no, United Auto Workers leaders may be forced to reopen negotiations, running the risk of yet another strike. Voting is expected to conclude before the end of the year.