Quick Takes

Beshear makes surprise visit to striking autoworkers in Louisville

By: - October 19, 2023 10:46 am

Workers stand in a line on strike outside the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Oct. 12, 2023. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Liam Niemeyer)

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear brought a box of fresh sandwiches to striking UAW Local 862 members outside the Ford Truck Plant in Louisville on Wednesday, reports a posting on the Kentucky AFL-CIO website.

“Folks, I’m Andy Beshear and I’m the proud pro-union governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” he announced to cheers and applause from the strikers.

Tim Morris, executive director of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council, didn’t know the governor was coming until his motorcade pulled up outside the truck plant union hall at 2702 Chamberlain Lane, according to the report.

Gov. Andy Beshear, right, brought sandwiches to striking autoworkers in Louisville, Oct. 18. (Photo courtesy of AFL-CIO)

Todd Dunn, Local 862 president, introduced Beshear to a small crowd including officials from Teamster Locals 89 and 783.

“The governor wanted to bring some sandwiches,” Dunn said. “This is not a campaign stop, no media got called. As a matter of fact, we went out of our way to keep it secret.”

Dunn said that outside the governor’s office the only people who knew about the visit were United Auto Workers President Sean Fain, Vice President Chuck Browning and a few other UAW officials “because we wanted to keep it about the people.”

Morris said Beshear “bought the sandwiches with his own money.”

The month-long strike against the Detroit Three automakers reached the Ford plant in Louisville, the company’s most profitable, on Oct. 11 when 8,700 workers walked off the job. The plant produces Super Duty trucks and SUVS.

The union is seeking wage increases, including compensation for concessions the union made in 2009 to help Ford survive without a government bailout. The union also is negotiating to ensure continued workforce protections as automakers transition to producing electric vehicles.

Beshear told the strikers “I am here for you, for your families” and that he knows they are “trying to help thousands upon thousands of Kentucky families have that better life.”

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