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Ford workers anxious, but prepared to strike if contract isn’t reached by Sunday

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CLAYCOMO, Mo. — Thousands of workers are ready to walk off the job at Ford’s Claycomo plant, prepared to strike this weekend if union leaders and Ford don’t reach a local contract agreement.

The plant employs 7,500 people, many of whom are members of the United Auto Workers Union (UAW), who plan to strike beginning Sunday at noon if no deal is struck.

“We’re a little nervous, but we`re also ready,” an employee, who asked us to hide her identity for fear of getting fired, told FOX 4 Tuesday afternoon. “I would think it would come down to the last minute.”

Ford and local UAW leaders are still battling it out. Their dispute focuses on workers’ rights when it comes to safety, staffing and seniority issues.

Union leaders in Kansas City were not available for comment Tuesday afternoon but say on social media that Ford “isn’t negotiating in good faith.”

“It needs to be addressed,” the employee said of the workers’ rights concerns. “If you want us to work and do great satisfaction for you, we also want to have great satisfaction, work experience and things in the plan for us. I think that’s mostly what everybody is thinking.”

Another employee chimed in, “We just want fair conditions: safety, manpower, just the heat is my main factor. It`s hot in there!”

A strike in Claycomo would be a big hit for Ford. The 7,500 worker plant is one of the company’s most crucial as it makes the best-selling F-150 trucks.

It would also create a tough situation for workers, who if on strike would no longer get a paycheck from Ford, but rather have to live off $200 a week from the union’s strike fund.

“I`m scared,” one employee said. “It`s not paid, so I mean, I’m just worried about my income and taking care of my family.”

In a statement, Ford said:

“We work every day to avoid a disruption of our production, and we are confident we will be able to negotiate a fair and competitive labor agreement with our UAW partners.”

It’s a sign both sides are anxious for a resolution.

“I want them to come to their senses,” an employee said, “and just say, ‘Look, we`re going to give you guys what you all are asking for.’”

It should be noted these contract negotiations are local, and separate from the national agreement still be worked out that deals with pay and benefits.