“They’re energized. They are ready.” Potential UAW Strike at Ohio Ford Assembly Plant in Avon Lake

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 7:47 PM EDT
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AVON LAKE, Ohio (WOIO) - United Auto Workers across the country are officially on strike and this means employees at the Ohio Ford Assembly Plant are now working with an expired contract.

Even though workers are still showing up to clock in, Union President Bill Samples tells 19 News they are ready to strike when the call comes.

“They’re energized. They are ready. They feel like it is our time and that we are going to stand up in solidarity and fight for what’s right,” says Samples.

Samples says the union has been preparing for this strike for months.

“We have firewood, a kitchen pantry set up, we have strike schedules set up for all of our members. We have been wearing solidarity shirts every week and its continuing to grow,” says Samples.

He says the strike is about better pay and an end to the tier system.

“We are with hard working men and women right beside us for almost less than half the wages we make and it is an eight year path that is just not right,” says Samples.

The Mayor of Avon Lake, Greg Zilka says that the city, along with the police department, and the fire department have been in contact with the union and Ford plant security. He says if there is a strike, there are ground rules for picketing, which is a first amendment right.

“This is ones lively hood that we are thinking about. Certainly the workers there work hard. They do a good job and they are hoping they can get the pay differential worked out to where it is fair,” says Mayor Zilka.

The plant in Avon Lake employees over 1,800 workers. If they go on strike, the Mayor says this will have a huge impact on the local economy.

“It will affect businesses in Avon Lake, in Scheffield Village, and Scheffield Lake and obviously those businesses are going to feel a hit,” says Mayor Zilka. “That is going to have a hit on all commercial activity. So a strike goes a long way and reverberates well beyond ones boarders.”

The Union could go on strike at any time. If they do, Samples says the hall will be manned twenty-four seven.

“We are here for all the members and we are going to stand with them,” says Samples.

Samples also told 19 News they are ready to strike for as long as they need. They have a lot of supplies saved up, but eventually they could be putting out a call to the community for help.