The union on Oct. 11 unexpectedly shut down Ford's largest and most profitable assembly operation, the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, after Fain said the automaker refused to make progress at the bargaining table.
The site employs roughly 8,700 hourly workers who build Super Duty pickups and two full-size SUVs, the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator.
Fain suggested the automaker had become complacent in its approach to the talks. The addition of Kentucky Truck more than doubled the number of Ford workers on strike to 16,600. That's more than the 9,400 on strike at General Motors and 8,000 at Stellantis, even though Ford has offered larger raises than the other two automakers.
"Ford thought they could sit back and not make further progress in bargaining because they thought they had the best deal on the table," Fain said. "They stopped being interested in reaching a fair deal now and only became interested in gaming our system of announcing strike expansions on Friday. They thought they figured out the so-called rules of the game, so we changed the rules."
Ford officials on Oct. 12 said company had reached the limit of what it could offer economically, although it could still move some money around within its current offer in hopes of reaching a deal.
So far the strike, which began Sept. 15, involves 34,000 out of the 146,000 UAW members across the Detroit 3. Roughly 8,000 additional workers, including suppliers, have been laid off, according to an Automotive News tally.