Published: Sat, November 02, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Ford, auto workers union reach tentative contract agreement

Ford, auto workers union reach tentative contract agreement

Former Ford Motors CEO Mark Fields discusses the end of the United Auto Workers' strike against General Motors and where the auto industry will go from here.

Ford confirmed the deal in a statement, but declined further comment.

The plant will close if the UAW-Ford Council and rank-and-file members approve the contract.

The deal with Ford's 55,000 US union workers doesn't match the $11,000 signing bonus that General Motors workers will get.

Unionized GM workers are expected to receive an $11,000 ratification bonus as part of the deal.

Highlights of the contract released by the union Friday detail where Ford intends to spend its money and allocate new models over the next four years.

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About 49,000 GM workers ratified their deal last week after a 40-day strike that paralyzed the company's USA production and hampered its factories in Canada and Mexico. "The pattern bargaining strategy has been a very effective approach for UAW and its members to secure economic gains around salary and benefits", he said.

The agreement did not detail how many new jobs could come to the Greater Cleveland plants. Similar to GM, Ford says 34% of its workforce is in-progression and 6% is temporary.

The deal still has to be approved by committees of national union leaders and local officials who will meet in Detroit Nov. 1. Members will then need to vote to ratify the agreement with a simple majority. The agreement calls for 3 percent wage increases or 4 percent lump-sum payments in the first four years of the contract, as well as profit-sharing and a pathway for temporary workers to become full-time employees.

Early indications are that Ford will also provide a substantially lower signing bonus than the $11,000 per worker figure included in the GM settlement. Ford has about 18,500 workers hired after 2007 who would get big pay raises, compared with GM's 17,000. The union says it secured over $6 billion in product investments at USA factories. "Further details will be provided at a later date", he said.

As a result, the union will "want to make sure the merger doesn't cost jobs", said Art Schwartz, a former GM negotiator and now head of Detroit-based Labor and Economics Associates. Going into the talks, Ford had wanted to trim health care and other labor costs so they were closer to costs at US factories run by foreign automakers.

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