Ford Contract Proposal Hits UAW Headwind

By Bernie Woodall 

DETROIT, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Workers at two large Ford Motor Co plants in Louisville, Kentucky rejected a proposed four-year labor contract by 2-to-1, putting its passage in doubt as voting at Ford plants nears an end.

Of the 7,408 votes cast at Louisville Assembly and Kentucky truck plants, 65.5 percent voted against the contract, according to a UAW official.

Just over half of those who have voted so far have rejected the contract, according to a tally of local union results gathered by the Detroit Free Press. There are nearly 53,000 Ford UAW members eligible to vote.

Voting extends through Thursday. The UAW's vice president for Ford affairs, Jimmy Settles, will hold a press conference at Local 600, which represents thousands of workers at several Dearborn, Michigan plants, late Wednesday morning. The UAW will need to keep the votes at least close at Local 600 as well as Local 551 linked to the Chicago Assembly Plant, for the contract to pass, said Kristin Dziczek, labor analyst with the Center for Automotive Research.

"It was a thin margin going into these big plants voting, and I don't know if it's a healthy enough margin to sustain some big no votes in Kentucky, Chicago and Dearborn," Dziczek said on Wednesday morning. (Reporting by Bernie Woodall)

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