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UAW-Ford Motor Co. auto contract takes a promising right turn

After one week of serious face-to-face conversation, bargainers for the UAW and Ford Motor Co. are on the brink of consensus on a four-year deal for the automaker's 41,000 unionized rank and file that might include a $7,500 signing bonus and union-won promises of new and retained jobs at Ford.

If the financials are true, the UAW will have squeezed out $2,500 more per person in bonus money for Ford Motor auto workers than it did for their UAW contemporaries at General Motors Co., where veteran UAW auto workers accepted $5,000 lump-sum bonuses from GM in lieu of COLA allowances and pay raises.

The UAW confirms the two sides are bandying "economic issues" right now and the pressure is on. Ford Motor's rank and file expect a better deal than GM got because Ford Motor made billions of dollars in profit in large part because union workers made concessions and sacrifices without being saddled with government bailout loan repayments. But UAW leaders cautioned that no numbers for the unsettled contract are set yet and called out a Detroit TV news reporter for a "reckless" broadcast claiming $13,500 in bonus money is on the way for each unionized Ford Motor worker.

In response to the WDIV TV broadcast, the UAW said on a Facebook page: "These false rumors are irresponsible and unfair to our members. They are designed to intentionally create false expectations.”

Meantime, an international news service and Detroit's daily newspaper, quoting a UAW official, said UAW plant officials have been summoned to Detroit for a Tuesday meeting "in anticipation of reaching an agreement" on a new contract with Ford Motor. Officials most likely would take contract details to union workers for a ratification vote subsequent to that meeting.

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