Ford workers in Kentucky and Michigan support Mack Trucks worker Will Lehman’s campaign for UAW president

As voting moves into the final stages of the first-ever direct election for United Auto Workers national officials, statements of support for Mack Trucks worker Will Lehman continue to pour in. Lehman is running for UAW president, demanding that power be transferred to the workers in the factories and that the corrupt union apparatus be abolished.

Lehman campaigner talks to a KTP worker (Photo: WSWS) [Photo: WSWS]

Will Lehman supporters continue to alert workers to the campaign, countering the UAW’s efforts to keep turnout low. The UAW officialdom wants union members to be ignorant of the election, the right to vote of all due-paying UAW members—temp workers, retirees, and full-time workers—and their right to information about candidates. In particular, the UAW machinery fears that Lehman will gain strong campaign support from younger, temporary, and lower-wage workers. Low wages, the denial of basic services and job protections are imposed on them.

A team of Will Lehman supporters recently visited the Ford Kentucky truck plant outside of Louisville. The plant builds the highly profitable Ford Super Duty pickup, the Ford Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator SUV. The plant will also invest $700 million to produce a modified version of the Super Duty. As part of the transition to electric vehicles, Ford is also building two new battery plants in Kentucky.

However, the company’s nearby Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP) assembly plant has not scheduled a vehicle to replace the Ford Eclipse and Lincoln Corsair crossover currently being built at that plant. This leaves the possibility that the plant will be closed or that Ford will use the fate of the jobs in LAP as leverage in the 2023 collective bargaining agreement.

General Motors threatened to close five plants ahead of 2019 wage negotiations, three of which eventually closed, including the historic Lordstown assembly plant in northeast Ohio.

An analyst told Automotive News that the closure of LAP cannot be ruled out as Ford is building a new electric vehicle assembly plant in Tennessee as part of its Blue Oval complex outside of Memphis. The company has not publicly stated whether it plans to recognize the UAW at the new plant.

Lehman has issued a statement calling for full mobilization by UAW members, including a US-wide strike, to confront threatened job cuts at LAP and other plants.

“When you add capacity, you always jeopardize an older plant,” said the analyst. “Louisville is a large facility and has an established workforce. But the downside is that it will soon be 70 years old.

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“I’m voting for Will because he’s not establishment,” a longtime KTP worker told campaigners. “The team of [UAW-Präsident] Ray Curry and Team United are part of the establishment and will not do anything for us. We need pretty much everything [Will] wrote in this leaflet: cost of living, abolition of the two-tier wage system, wage increases and pensions for all.

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