Kansas Ford plant voting on strike over workload

November 12, 2009 http://detnews.com/article/20091112/AUTO01/911120474

Kansas Ford plant voting on strike over workload

BRYCE G. HOFFMAN
The Detroit News

Workers at Ford Motor Co.’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo., are holding a strike authorization vote today after a disagreement over workloads, but no work stoppage is expected.

The dispute began during the company’s annual "rebalancing" talks with the union, which are aimed at increasing the plant’s efficiency.

According to people familiar with the situation, the United Auto Workers feels that some of the proposed changes would give some workers too many tasks to perform. A strike vote is typically taken in such cases as a way of increasing pressure on the company, though these rarely result in actual work stoppages.

However, the situation at the Kansas City plant, which produces the Ford F-150 and Escape, the Mercury Mariner and the Mazda Tribute, remains volatile after 92 percent of UAW members there rejected a recent agreement on concessions between the union and Ford.

Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said senior managers are at the plant, negotiating directly with local leaders and leaders of the UAW’s national Ford section.

"We are working together with the union to address their concerns," she said. "We have a contractual process that we follow to address such issues, and this is part of that process."

While several strike votes have been taken nationwide, Evans noted that none have resulted in a work stoppage at any Ford plant in the past 20 years.

The UAW could not be reached for comment.

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