Ford, UAW in tentative contract agreement: union

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 04, 2011 8:29 AM

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co and the United Auto Workers union have reached tentative agreement on a new four-year labor contract, the union said on Tuesday.

No further details were disclosed. The company and the union scheduled separate press conferences for later Tuesday.

Ford's 41,000 unionized workers expected a richer deal than one ratified last week for 48,500 GM workers. Unlike General Motors Co and Chrysler, Ford did not undergo a federally funded bankruptcy and bailout in 2009.

A deal at Ford will allow the UAW to focus on Chrysler Group LLC, the weakest of Detroit's three automakers and where analysts expects negotiations to be tougher.

Chrysler, majority-owned by Italian automaker Fiat SpA, has about 23,500 UAW-represented workers. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of both Chrysler and Fiat, is under pressure to hold the line on costs, and a deal at Chrysler may be the most difficult for the UAW, analysts say.

The contracts at all three automakers were to expire on September 14 but were extended. Ford's contract was extended indefinitely and Chrysler's contract was extended to October 19.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman and Bernie Woodall in Detroit; editing by John Wallace)