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Mark Phelan, auto critic for the Detroit Free Press
After two weeks of low drama or controversy, UAW workers ratified their four-year contract with Ford with 56.3% of the vote, the UAW announced Friday night.  The union announced the percentage without specific figures after the members finished casting national votes at. 19.30
"Every Ford employee and temporary employee will be at the top level for full-time status at the end of this four-year deal," said UAW President Rory Gamble, director of the UAW-Ford Department, in a prepared statement. “This is a life-changing contract for many and provides a template for all future Ford UAW members to a full-time, top-level status. There will be no more permanent temporary situations and no more permanent levels. "
He added," Ford's commitment to job security and assembly in the United States is a model for American manufacturers. "
Workers check Ford F-150 trucks built at Ford Rouge facility in Dearborn on Thursday, September 27, 2018. (Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press)
Ford has more UAW members than any other car manufacturer in USA. An estimated 55,000 workers are covered by the agreement.
"We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreement quickly with UAW without a costly disruption in production," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president, Automotive, in a prepared statement. " This deal helps Ford strengthen our competitiveness and protect well-paid production jobs. Working with UAW, we have added flex ibility to our business while keeping labor costs in line with estimated US labor costs for labor, and still rewarded our workers for their important contribution to the company. ”
On Monday, the UAW begins the process of ending its pattern negotiation with Fiat Chrysler. A six-week strike at General Motors, which ended with a ratification of October 25, has pushed contract negotiations through Thanksgiving, which is atypical.
The UAW contract with Ford includes $ 6 billion in pledged "major product investments" in U.S. facilities in 2019 and the creation and retention of more than 8,500 jobs, with 19 facilities promised investment.
The contract also includes no changes to the workers' share of health care, a $ 9,000 ratification bonus for seniority employees and $ 3,500 for temporary workers.
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Bernie Ricke, president of the UAW Local 600 near the Rouge factory complex, said his 14,000 active members are looking at the future, investments, products and jobs. "The process went well," he said Friday. "I think we did a great job of explaining the agreement to our members. I'm proud of the work we did."
Mike Rinaldi, then president of UAW Local 600, stands at the sign in front of his headquarters at Dix pointing to the Ford Rouge plant in 1983. (Photo: Ira Rosenberg, Detroit Free Press)
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The fact is that Ford dealerships met many of the goals outlined by the UAW, said Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. "They wanted progressive workers to reach parity, and they do. Temporary workers got a way to full-time employment and there is a limit to the number of temporary workers employed. They lose nothing on health care. And they got a whole bunch of detailed investments. "
Companies will generally have contracts ratified by 50% plus 1 vote because it shows that each side gave up what was needed, she said Friday.
Harley Shaiken, a University of California professor at Berkeley who specializes in work affairs and closely follows UAW activity, said Friday, "Ford ratification is not a surprise. It reflects a lot of hard There is a solid relationship between the company and the UAW – with experienced, smart dealers on both sides. "
In addition to health care, construction investments and ratification bonuses, here are some of the highlights of the contract:
- 3% wage increase in second and fourth year; 4% lump sum calculated on base salary given in alternative years.
- Current temporary workers are given a path to permanent employment with the potential to reach the highest level of pay during the life of the contract.
- The earnings sharing formula is maintained.
- A $ 1,000 pension contribution to the tax-efficient savings plan for hourly employees for those employed or retired prior to November 19, 2007, or in a proficient classification prior to October 24. 2011.
- $ 60,000 retirement allowance for production workers and up to 200 skilled workers.
- Skilled trades receive two $ 1,000 lump sums in 2019 and 2021.
- Assistance packages for pensionable Romao employees.
- A moratorium on outsourcing and plant closure.
- Commitment to a Flat Rock viability strategy for new product. The facility south of Detroit is scheduled for a $ 250 million investment.
- Buffalo Stamping will receive a $ 60 million investment, but F-150 and Super Duty stamps will be transferred. The contract summary highlights a commitment to the facility and "safeguarding future opportunities for the facility."
- So-called development workers hired after 2007 get a faster way to top pay. Under the previous contract, these workers started at $ 17 an hour and would reach $ 28 an hour after eight years. Under the proposal, it has been shortened to four years.
Ford noted in a news release Friday that the company "will incur $ 700 million in expenses in the fourth quarter related to the new agreement, primarily related to the ratification bonus." The agreement covers UAW-represented hourly workers at Ford manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois and New York.
The terms of the new agreement allow Ford to improve its production and operational fitness, the company states, including:
- Increased use of temporary staff.
- Closing the Romeo engine plant in metro Detroit, improving the utilization of powertrain production capacity, and at the same time offering all workers jobs at a nearby plant.
- Special pension program that will improve the workforce composition, lowering labor costs.
- No increase in pension obligations or payments to pensioners.
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