Ford motors on as UAW strikes Navistar

Production at Ford Motor Co.'s Kentucky Truck Plant, home of the F-Series Super Duty Truck, hasn't been affected by the United Auto Workers strike against Navistar International, a Ford spokeswoman said yesterday. Diesel V-8 Powerstroke engines made at the Navistar plant in Indianapolis are used in about 70 percent of the Super Duty trucks produced at the truck plant on Chamberlain Lane in Louisville.

"At this point and time, there is no immediate impact to the Kentucky Truck Plant," Ford spokeswoman Becky Sanch said in a telephone interview.

An estimated 3,700 UAW workers at Navistar plants in six states walked out Tuesday afternoon after contract talks broke down.

Despite the strike, Navistar will supply as many engines as Ford needs, company spokesman Roy Wiley said yesterday. If need be, the truck plant will receive diesel engines from Navistar's nonunion factory in Huntsville, Ala., he said. "We have a plan to continue to provide Ford with engines in this strike," Wiley said. "As many as they need, we will give them. Ford has been a good customer for a long, long time. Tell them to build more trucks, and we will give them more engines."

Navistar Chief Executive Daniel Ustian said during a conference call with reporters yesterday that "our key point is, we can make product for our customers. They (UAW members) know that."

Ustian said talks with the union have not restarted.

The UAW accused Navistar of unfair labor practices, including changing terms of employment and an illegal lockout at a Springfield, Ohio plant.

The company "moved our work to Mexico and to nonunion plants in Texas, cancelled our supplemental unemployment benefits and ignored our job security program," UAW Vice President General Holiefield said in a statement.

Wiley said the allegations of unfair labor practices are "totally unfounded."

Slow sales of Super Duty trucks recently prompted the furlough of Kentucky Truck Plant workers for two weeks. That move also shut down the Navistar engine plant in Indianapolis for the same time period, Wiley said.

As truck plant workers returned this week, the strike against Navistar has sparked fresh anxiety, UAW Local 862 Committeeman Rodney Janes said this week.

"Everyone is talking about it," he said. "People are worried we won't have enough engines to keep going."


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