Ford will invest $6 billion in U.S. manufacturing in the new deal, now up for voting; UAW president goes on leave under the cloud of a corruption investigation.
Ford and the United Auto Workers have reached a tentative agreement in contract negotiations that would “create or retain” more than 8500 jobs and involve billions in new investment by Ford.
Ford will close one engine plant but will move the 600-plus employees to a nearby transmission plant.
UAW members have until November 15 to vote to accept or reject the new deal.
Following the United Auto Workers’ 40-day strike against General Motors, UAW leaders and the Ford Motor Company have agreed on a new labor deal. The UAW’s deal with Ford is similar to the deal the union reached in October with GM, and it still needs to be ratified by UAW workers at Ford. The UAW did not strike at Ford, and in contrast to the tense five-week negotiation period during the strike against GM, the UAW and Ford reached a tentative deal in only three days.
The contract includes more than $6 billion in investments Ford will make in jobs and plants. Ford has nearly 56,000 hourly workers in the United States, and under the new contract, the UAW says, more than 8500 jobs will be created or retained and 19 facilities will get some of that investment money. Ford UAW workers will get a ratification bonus of $9000 ($3500 for temporary employees), as well as wage increases and no reduction in health-care benefits or increase in costs to members.
Ford will be allowed to close one facility—the Romeo, Michigan, engine plant, which employs more than 600 hourly workers—but other than that, the deal includes a moratorium on any plant closures. All of the jobs at Romeo will be protected and transferred to the nearby Van Dyke transmission facility. There are other benefits as well, including a moratorium on outsourcing and the eligibility for current temporary workers to become full-time employees and potentially reach the top pay rate during the life of the contract.
UAW Ford members will hold informational meetings starting Monday, November 4, and local votes on the contract are due into Detroit by November 15. A simple majority is required for the deal to pass.
Neither Ford nor the UAW would comment on the agreement other than in prepared statements.
“Ford can confirm the UAW’s announcement that the UAW and Ford have reached a tentative agreement on a four-year contract. Further details will be provided at a later date,” said Bill Dirksen, vice president of labor affairs at Ford.
“We are proud that UAW-Ford members through this contract will continue to be the largest U.S. auto work force and build the most products here at home,” said Rory Gamble, UAW vice president and director of the union’s UAW-Ford department. “This contract reflects the hard work, sacrifice, and quality work of UAW members as they lead the U.S. auto industry.”
In related news, UAW president Gary Jones, who has been under federal investigation for alleged corruption, has asked for a leave of absence, effective Sunday, November 3. “I do not want anything to distract from the mission. I want to do what’s best for the members of this great union,” Jones said. The UAW says that vice president Rory Gamble, who negotiated the Ford agreement, will serve as acting president.