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'They want what's right': Louisville UAW chapter prepares strike plan as contract deadline looms

Leaders at UAW Local 862 say they have more than 11,000 workers across two manufacturing plants prepared to picket, if necessary.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — As the midnight deadline looms for three of the country's major automakers and the UAW to reach a deal on a new contract, the union's Louisville chapter is prepping their workers in the event a strike happens.

Leaders at UAW Local 862 told WHAS11 that if the clock strikes midnight without a tentative agreement, there will be four gates made available at the Louisville Assembly Plant (LAP) for picketing, if necessary, along with nine over at the Kentucky Truck Plant (KTP). 

But, Ford union employees hope it doesn't get to that point.

LAP worker of seven years Ronald Lardon was one of thousands of employees who made stops at their union halls on Thursday, checking in with their strike captains.

"I hope [the deal] gets done soon, so there isn't an interruption of wok," Lardon said. "Because that's an interruption in a lot of people's lives. Strike pay is what we need and what we get, but it's not enough. It's not enough on top of all the other stresses we have to go through and all the pain that we have to put ourselves through to work there."

Local 862 says they have more than 11,000 workers across the two manufacturing plants prepared to picket, if needed.

"They want what's best for their families, and they want what's right," Lardon said.

Local 862 has their contingency plans down to a science, set for six four-hour shifts per day for picketing, which would run seven days a week for as many weeks as they need.

Lardon describes his job as one he's been called to do.

"It's my therapy, I love being there," he said. "The smell of a new car coming out of the line is pretty rewarding for knowing that you do a little bit of that job as it goes to the very end."

Lardon just hopes he and others can get paid a little more to do the work, especially given rising prices for rent and food.

Lardon is currently on medical leave, but tells us he's prepared to support those striking from afar, even running them water if that's what they need.

The local chapter says they have lights, generators and food ready to go, if necessary. But they also say they feel strongly that once a contract is signed, regardless of how long it takes, it could be the most lucrative deal they've had.

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