This Jan. 5, 2015, file photo shows a Ford logo...

This Jan. 5, 2015, file photo shows a Ford logo shines on the front grille of a 2014 Ford F-150, on display at a local dealership in Hialeah, Fla. Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative agreement on a local contract at the company’s most profitable factory, averting the threat of a strike. The union said last week said that nearly 9,000 workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville would walk picket lines starting Friday if the contract dispute was not resolved. But the UAW said in a statement Wednesday that a deal had been reached, ending the strike threat. Workers still have to vote on the contract. Credit: AP/Alan Diaz

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative agreement on a local contract at the company's largest and most profitable factory, averting the threat of a strike.

The union said last week said that nearly 9,000 workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville would walk picket lines starting Friday if the contract dispute was not resolved.

But the UAW said in a statement Wednesday that a deal had been reached, ending the strike threat.

The tentative agreement addresses health and safety issues, ergonomics, the company's efforts to reduce the number of skilled trades workers and other issues, the union said.

The plant, one of two Ford factories in Louisville, makes heavy-duty F-Series pickup trucks and the Ford Excursion and Lincoln Navigator large SUVs, all hugely profitable vehicles for the company.

A strike at the sprawling plant would have been the second in the past year. In October, UAW workers shut down the plant during national contract negotiations that ended with large raises for employees.

Workers have been without a local contract for five months, the UAW said.

It says there are 19 other local agreements being negotiated with Ford, and several more at rivals General Motors and Stellantis.

The strike threat last week came after Ford CEO Jim Farley told an analysts’ conference in New York that last fall’s contentious UAW strike changed Ford’s relationship with the union to the point where the automaker will “think carefully” about where it builds future vehicles.

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