UAW leaders approve tentative agreement with Ford

AP News
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Posted: Nov 09, 2015 5:52 PM
UAW leaders approve tentative agreement with Ford

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers' proposed contract with Ford Motor Co. — approved Monday by local union leaders — is the richest of the Detroit Three, with a promise of $10,250 in bonuses for most workers this year alone.

The union released details of the agreement Monday. Workers must now vote to ratify it. The four-year deal covers 53,000 workers at 22 U.S. plants.

The Ford deal was reached as General Motors Co. workers await word on the fate of their own contract. The UAW said Friday that 55.4 percent of GM workers overall voted in favor of the deal, including 58 percent of production workers. But almost 60 percent of skilled trades workers voted no.

The union is now meeting with those workers to find out why they rejected the deal. The discussions could lead to changes in the parts of the contract that affect those workers.

Fiat Chrysler workers approved their new contract late last month after rejecting their first offer.

Like agreements at GM and Fiat Chrysler, Ford's deal would eliminate the two-tier wage system the union agreed to in 2007 when the companies were near bankruptcy.

Ford currently pays recent hires around $15.78 per hour. Under the new agreement, workers with four or more years of experience will make the top $29 hourly wage within four years; workers with less experience would make between $22.50 and $28 in four years and top wages in eight years. Top-tier workers also would get their first raises in a decade.

But the union looked for even more from Ford, which made more money than GM or Fiat Chrysler last year and reported a record North American pretax profit of $2.7 billion in the third quarter.

"It is one of the richest agreements in the history of UAW-Ford," the UAW's chief Ford negotiator, Jimmy Settles, said last week.

Most Ford workers would get an $8,500 signing bonus and $1,750 in additional bonuses once the contract is ratified. GM workers would get an $8,000 signing bonus, while Fiat Chrysler workers would get $3,000 or $4,000.

Ford's agreement also promises $9 billion in U.S. plant investments over four years, more than the $8.3 billion promised at GM and the $5.3 billion promised by Fiat Chrysler. Ford says it will create or retain 8,500 jobs at its U.S. plants over four years.

Ford also removed a cap on the amount workers can earn in annual profit sharing. Under the new agreement, Ford workers would make $1 in profit sharing for every $1 million in North American profit. The current contract doesn't pay more if North American profits exceed $12 billion. So far this year, Ford has made $6.6 billion in North America.