In surprise move, UAW says 8,700 Ford workers walk off job at Louisville truck plant

In what was described as an unannounced decision, the United Auto Workers union has called a strike at Ford Motor Co.’s

large Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, the union said Wednesday.

The union, in a statement, said that 8,700 union members had walked off the job at 6:30 p.m. Eastern at the plant, which Ford described as its biggest. The union said that the surprise move marked a “new phase” in its ongoing strike, in which select workers have been called on at different times to walk out.

In a statement, UAW President Shawn Fain said Ford “has not gotten the message.”

“It’s time for a fair contract at Ford and the rest of the Big Three,” Fain said. “If they can’t understand that after four weeks, the 8,700 workers shutting down this extremely profitable plant will help them understand it.”

Ford, in a statement, called the decision “grossly irresponsible” and said it had made an “outstanding offer” in the negotiations, which involve the union and the Big Three auto makers.

Ford said the vehicles made at the factory — the F-Series Super Duty, the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator – bring in $25 billion a year in sales.

The automaker said the UAW’s decision “carries serious consequences for our workforce, suppliers, dealers and commercial customers.”

Fain will host an event on Facebook on Friday to give updates on bargaining. Shares of Ford fell nearly 2% after hours.

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