Gary Jones, president of UAW International, (left) and Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor, hand-greeted July 15, 2019 at Ford World Headquarters to begin negotiations for a new contract.
DETROIT – Ford Motor and United Auto Workers reached a preliminary agreement on a new employment contract Wednesday night without strikes.
The four-year agreement includes $ 6 billion in new Ford investment and the creation or retention of 8,500 jobs in the United States, according to the association.
Other details of the proposed contract were not disclosed. However, the pact is expected to share many of the same terms as the union's recent contract with General Motors. This agreement included a 3% raise or 4% one-time bonus each year of the contract, maintaining about 3% of health care costs and a way for temporary workers to become full-time employees.
GM agreed to approve $ 1[ads1]1,000 ratification bonuses for most of the roughly 48,000 UAW employees, but previous contracts have included lower bonuses for Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers.
Ford confirmed the proposed agreement, which must be approved by local union leaders and members, but declined to provide further details.
"These were long and hard hours, but I feel confident that they were able to secure a contract that will protect the future of our member," UAW President Gary Jones said in a release announcing the deal.  The trade union traditionally uses "pattern negotiations" with the Detroit automakers. It chooses a "target" company to negotiate with first. Once an agreement is agreed and ratified, the union uses the contract as a template for negotiations with the other two car manufacturers.
Ford's negotiations with the federation were expected to be less contentious and go faster than UAW's talks with GM, which included a 40-day strike that ended Friday, costing the car manufacturer billions.
The Ford contract is probably at least a week or two away from being approved or rejected by union members. It still needs approval from local union leaders who will meet Friday in Detroit to vote on the deal. If local UAW leaders approve the proposed contract, Ford's approximately 55,500 UAW members must then vote on it.
If the members vote the agreement, negotiators would be expected to return to the negotiating table and a strike would again be an option for the union.
The UAW, if the agreement was ratified, will next approach Fiat Chrysler, the last of the Detroit automakers that the union needs to negotiate for 2019.
UAW's discussions with Fiat Chrysler are expected to be more contentious than those with Ford in the middle of a federal union corruption probe that started with the Italian-American carmaker. There is also uncertainty about the company's future in the midst of a possible merger agreement confirmed this week with French carmaker PSA Group.