The linchpin in negotiations between the United Auto Workers and Ford came on October 11, when the union struck the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Ford had been put on notice, according to the UAW. On Wednesday, after 41 days on strike, the UAW and Ford reached a tentative agreement. The union hitting Ford’s largest and most profitable plant led to quick movement at the negotiating table, with both sides trying to close a deal. Ford had also seen what happened to General Motors on Tuesday, just hours after the company announced its third quarter earnings, posting a profit despite the strike. UAW launched a surprise targeted strike at GM’s largest plant, Arlington Assembly, in Texas. Ford was set to report earnings on Thursday. There was a clear understanding that if there wasn’t a deal between the UAW and Ford by then, the company’s Rouge Manufacturing Complex in Michigan – which employs thousands of hourly workers - was likely going to be struck next, the source added. The Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan is where Ford Chairman and fourth generation controlling family member Bill Ford spoke about negotiations for the first-time last week. Ford called on the UAW to “stop this now” and bring an end to talks, adding that the company’s financial ability to invest in the future is the “lifeblood of the company.” Without it, factories like the Rouge plant would close, Bill Ford said. That speech perturbed UAW President Shawn Fain, who responded with a threat. “Bill Ford knows exactly how to settle this strike. Instead of threatening to close the Rouge, he should call up [Ford President] Jim Farley, tell him to stop playing games and get a deal done, or we’ll close the Rouge for him,” he said. Negotiations Accelerate A marathon negotiating session then started this past Tuesday, and went late into the night into Wednesday. By 6:30am Wednesday morning, a deal had been agreed to in principle. The agreement just needed UAW leadership and lawyers from both sides to sign off – particularly Fain, a second source with knowledge said. Throughout the day, the tone was that a deal would either be figured out in six hours, or Rouge could be struck, the first source said. A labor lawyer for the UAW, Benjamin Dictor, posted several photos to X, formerly known as Twitter, painting a picture of the final 24 hours of negotiations. On 7:15pm on Tuesday, he posted a photo outside Ford HQ with the caption “a beautiful evening in Dearborn.” The following day on Wednesday afternoon, he posted “Hard at work.” Just hours later, Dictor posted a photo of him posing with UAW President Shawn Fain with the caption: “A privilege to have had the opportunity to work alongside the UAW Ford Department members in their negotiations for this historic agreement. Soon it will be in the hands of the membership.” The deal was done. Shawn Fain made the announcement with UAW Vice President and key negotiator Chuck Browning in a pre-recorded video Wednesday evening, shortly before 8:30pm ET. “Ford knew what was coming for them on Wednesday if we didn’t get a deal. That was checkmate. On day 40 of the Stand Up strike, we reached a historic agreement,” said Fain in the video posted to X. Ford’s President and CEO Jim Farley followed with a statement that said Ford was “pleased to have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract with the UAW covering our U.S. operations.” As of midnight on Wednesday, there were no Ford UAW members on the picket lines, two sources confirmed. It’s an unusual move to bring workers off the picket line before a deal is voted upon and ratified by rank-and-file membership. But in this case, it’s about strategy. “We’re going back to work at Ford to keep the pressure on Stellantis and GM. The last thing they want is for Ford to get back to full capacity while they mess around and lag behind,” said Browning in the Wednesday night’s video announcement. The UAW is still negotiating with GM and Stellantis. What comes next Getting the deal done with Ford was a big hurdle, according to a third source with knowledge. The next biggest hurdle will be getting 57,000 UAW members to ratify the tentative deal, which might not happen until Thanksgiving. There is relief, however, that there is a deal in place, the third source said. While there are no longer any UAW members on the picket lines at Ford, it will take time to get everyone back to work. It could take the company four or more weeks to get back up and running to full speed. But at Kentucky Truck Plant, the company is already asking people to return to work voluntarily this week to get the plant back up and running, according to Todd Dunn, UAW Local 862 President, who represents workers at Kentucky Truck. The company is also asking weekend shift workers to come in starting tomorrow with the plan that by Monday the plant will be running at full capacity, said Dunn. Still, there is a lot of animosity between Ford and the UAW which needs to be repaired, this third source added. In one of Fain’s signature Facebook Live videos, early on in negotiations, the UAW president called one of Ford’s offers ‘disgusting’ while pointing to a trash can, where he said it belonged. On several occasions in the early weeks, Farley appeared emotional about the state of negotiations when speaking to media. The Ford CEO said the deal the UAW was looking for would bankrupt the company. Ford reported earnings Thursday less than a day after the tentative agreement was reached, posting a profit. That was despite the strike and its cost – $100 million in losses during the third quarter. Ford’s CFO John Lawler cautioned on the company’s earnings call that there is still “significant uncertainty” caused by the strike, including how smoothly the restart of plants will go, and how quickly the company’s suppliers will be back online in order to build Ford’s vehicles again. CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report.