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UAW workers approve new Ford labor contract - new details revealed

While the days immediately following the announcement of the proposed 4-year deal between Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers union were tense with some major Ford factories voting against the deal, today the UAW announced that the workers have voted to approve the new contract by a margin of roughly 2 to 1.

The United Auto Workers union and Ford Motor Company announced this morning that the majority of workers had voted to ratify the new deal. Of the 40,600 Ford-UAW workers in the US, the UAW reports that 34,988 workers placed their vote (85%) with 22,031 workers in favor of the deal while 12,957 voted against the plan – a ratio of 63% in favor to 37% opposed. This means that roughly 5,600 eligible workers did not place their vote and even if they had all voted against the proposed contract; the “yeas” still would have won out in the end.

Shortly after the voting began on the new 4-year labor contract between Ford and the UAW, major plants including a variety around the Detroit area and the large Chicago plant which builds the Ford Explorer and Taurus voted against the new deal. Many were concerned that these two plants – both of which showed earlier interest by the workers in going on strike – would set a negative pace for the voting process on the new deal. However, as more and more Ford UAW local branches around the US returned the results of their voting, it became clear that the contract was nearing ratification and today Ford announced that the new deal has indeed gotten the thumbs up from the majority of their union workers.

"This agreement is proof that, by working together with our UAW partners and local communities, we can significantly create new jobs, invest in our plants and people, and make a very positive impact on the U.S. economy," said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company's president of The Americas. "Our agreement is fair to our employees and it improves our competitiveness in the U.S."

In addition to the news of the new 4-year contract between Ford and the UAW being approved, more details of the new contract have come out. The major points for the workers in this new contract include a $6,000 signing bonus, a $1,500 lump sum cost of living bonus, and creation of almost 6,000 new jobs around the country. On top of that, Ford promised to invest over $16 billion on new product development by 2015, with $6.3 billion going to prepare various American production facilities for future models. The key plant additions in the new Ford-UAW labor contract include the following:
-The Flat Rock Michigan plant, which currently serves as the home of the Ford Mustang will become the second source for the next generation Fusion production. Flat Rock will also serve as the home of the next generation of the Mustang.

-The Kansas City Missouri plant will begin producing the Transit Commercial Van from Europe.

-The Louisville Kentucky SUV plant will build a new unnamed vehicle in addition to the 2012 Escape.

-The Wayne Michigan Assembly Plant will begin building the new Ford C-Max hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. The hybrid components for these models will be produced at Ford’s Van Dyke Transmission facility.

-The Avon Lake Ohio facility will begin building the F650 and F750 when the production of the current Ford E Series van ends. These heavy duty trucks are currently built in Mexico.

Ford will also make investments to protect the future of 3 other vehicle assembly plants including the Chicago Assembly plant, ten drivetrain assembly plants, and three stamping plants as a part of this new contract – all of which will help to add or protect over 12,000 jobs in the US.

"As the nation's economy remains stalled and uncertain and its employment rate stagnates, we were able to win an agreement with Ford that will bring auto manufacturing jobs back to the United States from China, Mexico and Japan," said UAW President Bob King. "This agreement adds 5,750 new UAW jobs which mean more than 12,000 new jobs in total with jobs previously announced by Ford. Many of these jobs will be added by the end of 2012, and all will be added during the term of the new contract. As a result of these negotiations, the UAW and the domestic automakers announced a total of 20,000 direct manufacturing jobs including the creation of 6,400 jobs at GM and 2,100 at Chrysler. The American auto industry is on its way back.”

Today’s announcement leaves the Chrysler Group as the only member of the Detroit Big 3 automakers to not have a current labor contract but with a tentative agreement in place for Chrysler, it shouldn’t be long before we are done talking about auto worker labor union issues – until this 4-year deal expires.

Other UAW News:
Ford promises 12,000 new jobs, $16 billion investment in UAW deal
A look at the most important terms of the new UAW/GM contract
It's official: UAW ratifies new 4-year labor contract with General Motors
A closer look at the details of the tentative Chrysler-UAW agreement