Ford Motor Co. said Saturday that union concerns over working conditions at its Kansas City assembly plant have been resolved even as workers moved ahead with a planned strike authorization vote.
Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said officials from the automaker and United Auto Workers Local 249 reached an agreement late Friday on issues related to the workload at the plant.
Production problems surfaced after Ford went to a three-shift operation on the Ford Escape/Mercury Mariner SUV line. In addition to a staggered schedule for the third shift, union leaders complained that Ford was trying to eliminate jobs with the added shift, imposing uncompensated work and that safety issues became more pronounced. Ford has about 4,000 Claycomo production employees.
Jeff Wright, president of the UAW local, said earlier this week that he considered the strike authorization a formality and that a work stoppage was unlikely.
The UAW often conducts strike-authorization votes over local plant issues with overwhelming approval from workers, and Wright expected that to happen with this dispute.
Indeed, Ford said Saturday that an agreement had been reached.
"At this point, no further action is necessary," Evans said. "The issues are resolved."
The union was still carrying out a strike authorization vote scheduled to end late Saturday, according to Toni McCauley, financial secretary for the union, although the results would likely be moot.