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Ford Seals UAW Deal with Future Product Guarantees

Will Ford workers be the first group to accept new deal on first try?

by on Nov.09, 2015

The Lincoln Continental will be built alongside the Ford Mustang and Fusion at the Flat Rock, Michigan, plant, the UAW said.

An all-new Ford Explorer is now scheduled to come down the assembly line at the company’s Chicago Assembly plant and the long-promised full-size Ford Raptor will be built at the Dearborn Truck Assembly plant under the terms of the automaker’s new contract with the United Auto Workers.

The UAW also said Ford promised to build a new mid-sized Lincoln Continental alongside the Ford Mustang and Ford Fusion at the automaker’s Flat Rock assembly plant as part of the newly agreed upon pact.

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Overall, the new U.S. investments worth $9 billion are expected to create or secure 8,500 jobs for UAW members under a new tentative agreement with Ford that was overwhelmingly approved by the local union leaders on the UAW National Ford Council Monday.  (more…)

Ford, UAW Reach Tentative Contract

Settlement expected to begin phase-out of 2-tier job system.

by on Nov.06, 2015

Ford wasn't expected to resume negotiations with the UAW until next week.

In a surprise announcement, the United Auto Workers Union has revealed it reached a tentative agreement with Ford Motor Co. on a new four-year contract.

The two sides had publicly put talks on the back burner – but quietly continued meeting – while union bargainers first focused on negotiations with Fiat Chrysler and then General Motors. With GM workers now likely to have approached their tentative settlement, it was expected the union would shift focus to Ford next week.

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“We appreciate the solidarity from our members while we worked to secure the details of this proposed tentative agreement,” UAW President Dennis Williams said Friday afternoon. “We negotiated for a proposal that will solidify job security and create substantial economic gains for our hard-working members and their families.”


VW Sidesteps Strike With Big Pay Hike

Biggest pay increase in 20 years.

by on Jun.04, 2012

Workers at VW's "Glass Factory" in Dresden.

Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest automaker, has agreed to give its German workers a pay increase of 4.3%, following the pattern set last month at Daimler, Porsche and BMW.

Under the one year contract, which expires next June, the pay increase took effect June 1 and covers more than 102,000 employees at VW manufacturing and financial services units.

German employers originally asked for a two-year contract but apparently agreed to the one agree contracts on the assumption negotiators from IG Metall will be willing to reduce demands if the European economy continues to soften over the next 12 months.

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The union, however, also won important concessions from VW and other employers in Western Germany for boosting the wages and benefits of trainees, students and temporary workers. Temporary workers also got a 4.3% pay increase as part of the deal.


Auto Industry to Add Nearly 200,000 U.S. Jobs

Car business again a key driver of the economy.

by on Dec.01, 2011

Workers at a Ford plant in Detroit. The maker will add thousands of jobs as part of its new UAW contract.

There’s an old adage that when the economy catches a cold the auto industry comes down with pneumonia, as was apparent when Detroit’s makers struggled for survival in 2009, two of the Big Three plunging into bankruptcy. But with the overall economy now struggling to turn around it seems that the auto industry is pushing it into high gear – car sales showing newfound momentum and –according to a new study – carmakers getting ready to go on a hiring spree.

A new study by The Center for Auto Research estimates the U.S., auto industry will add 60,000 new jobs next year, and 190,000 jobs between now and 2015.

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Detroit’s three makers and their “transplant” rivals have already added or announced plans to add tens of thousands of new workers but the CAR study suggests the bulk of the new jobs it is anticipating will be added by automotive suppliers.


Ford Contract Facing Possible Rejection

Workers voting thumbs-down at key Ford plants.

by on Oct.13, 2011

Ford workers are giving a tepid reception to their new contract and could refuse to ratify it.

The final tally on the United Auto Workers ratification vote on the new contract with the Ford Motor Co. won’t be complete until next week. But the early numbers are proving be too close for comfort as an internet-driven “vote no” campaign takes hold.

Ford workers voted down contract changes in 2009 and dissidents have warned any new contract with Ford must recover the concessions made since 2007.

The tentative contract signed by the UAW and Ford doesn’t measure up to that standard, according to Gary Walkowicz, a UAW commiteeman from UAW Local 600, which represents thousands of workers at the Ford’s Rouge manufacturing complex. Walkowicz was one of the leaders of the fight against contract concessions in 2009. He is also urging a no vote on the proposed Ford agreement through a letter that been widely circulated on the internet.

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That message has led workers at several Michigan plants to reject the agreement, though it is winning support at a number of other Ford plants.

The press for rejection has been significantly stronger at Ford than at General Motors, where workers last month voted two-to-one to accept their own new agreement.


UAW Push Falls Short, Deadline Missed

Union, GM and Chrysler miss midnight contract deadline; talks continue.

by on Sep.15, 2011

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne writes an enraged letter to UAW Chief Bob King.

The United Auto Workers fell short in a bold effort to reach an agreements with both General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group as the union’s contracts with the two automakers expired at midnight.

The union push appears to have been hampered by lack of any kind of strike deadline and by a tactical decision that left Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne fuming.

Machionne, having blown off a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to fly back to Detroit from the Frankfurt Motor Show, was clearly irritated by UAW president Bob King’s decision to spend time in the talks at GM as discussions intensified and negotiating sessions stretched into the evening hours.

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Because of continuing discussion with GM, King missed an appointment with Marchionne, who in a toughly worded letter accused the union of slipping back into an adversarial role. “We have known about this expirations date for a long time,” Marchionne wrote.

The missed appointment could delay a settlement at Chrysler by as much as a week.


Contract Talks Drag as Deadline Approaches

Will union dig in for battle at Ford?

by on Sep.07, 2011

Workers on a GM assembly plant in Flint. The domestic giant could be targeted first as contract talks come down to the wire - but a strike is barred by law.

Talks between the United Auto Workers Union and Detroit’s three automakers have slowed in recent days even as workers at Ford voted in favor of a strike and UAW officials brushed aside reports it has elected to focus on General Motors as its target as its contracts expire Sept. 14.

Michele Martin, UAW spokeswoman, said in an e-mail the union had not picked a target to focus on yet after several reports surfaced indicating the union had decided to concentrate on GM in a bid to win a contract that could then be used as a pattern for a settlement with Ford and Chrysler.

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Meanwhile, negotiations with all three automakers are moving slowly, according to those familiar with the talks. Sources at the three automakers indicated the negotiations are bogging down and in places have not gotten much beyond the subcommittee level.

UAW President Bob King, however, said in a television interview over the weekend he thought the talks were going well. The negotiations involve new contracts covering more than 112,000 workers at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.


Hopes Fading for Quick Settlement in Auto Talks

Two-tier wages could be sticking point.

by on Aug.30, 2011

UAW President King insists the U.S. is not broke.

Chances for a quick and amiable settlement in contract talks between the United Auto Workers Union and Ford Motor Co, General Motors and Chrysler Group appear to be fading as labor and management head towards their Sept. 14th deadline.

Both sides continue to put a positive spin on the pace of talks – at least for public consumption – but sticking points are starting to develop.  The union, for one, is taking an increasing tough tone on the two-tier wage system the Big Three insist they need to stay competitive.  And, the manufacturers warn, that without a sense they can remain on a cost par with their foreign competitors they will need to consider exporting more jobs.

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On the other hand, the makers are also dangling a carrot, suggesting that labor peace could lead to significant job creation in a domestic industry that has seen its job base shrivel over the last several decades.

The two-tier wage debate has spurred angry talk – and some local demonstrations – in recent weeks, though UAW president Bob King continues to insist he is “upbeat” about the prospects for reaching a peaceful resolution.


UAW Faces Revolt Over Two-Tier Wages

A symbol of union’s decline.

by on Aug.16, 2011

GM says the two-tier wage system lit shift production of the the Chevy Sonic to the U.S., but workers say they aren't getting a "living wage."

The United Auto Workers top leadership is facing a potential rebellion over the issue of the two-tier wage system approved for Detroit automakers, which has become a potent symbol of the union’s steady decline.

The two-tier wages were initially approved by the UAW in some contracts signed in the late 1990s but only entered the union’s critical contracts with General Motors, Ford and Chrysler in 2003.  The scope of the second-tier wage program was dramatically expanded in 2007 when union negotiators accepted the rationale promoted first by GM than by Chrysler that it would permit the companies to hire new workers and become more competitive against Japanese transplants.

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The acceptance of the two-tier wage agreement four years ago also represented the tacit acknowledgement by union negotiators of the downward pressure asserted by non-union transplants in the Southeast. Some of the newest plants — such as the Volkswagen facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee that opened this year – are paying barely $15 in combined wages and benefits, fraction of what workers earn in Detroit.

Detroit’s Big Three say they need to match those lowerlabor costs to be competitive — but domestic workers insisting they’re not getting a “living wage,” and could make it difficult to negotiate new contracts in the weeks ahead.


UAW May Skip Strike Deadline in Talks With Detroit Big Three

“Creative problem solving” is goal, says union boss Bob King, not confrontation.

by on Apr.26, 2011

The UAW is seeking "creative" solutions, said Pres. Bob King during a meeting with reporters.

The United Auto Workers Union will put the emphasis on “creative problem solving,” rather than confrontation as it reopens contract talks, this summer, with Detroit’s Big Three automakers.

Intent on putting aside the traditional hardball tactics that have defined automotive labor/management relations over the last 75 years, UAW President Bob King said union negotiators may not even set a strike target as they approach their mid-September deadline.  But that would be a limited option anyway, he acknowledged, as terms of the government’s 2009 bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler mean that only Ford could even be threatened with a walkout this year.

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During a meeting of the Detroit Automotive Press Association, the UAW president meanwhile offered both a carrot and a stick to companies like Toyota, who have managed to so far avoid union organizing efforts.  Give workers a fair chance to vote, King promised, and the union will accept the results, win or lose.  But resisting calls for an election, he asserted, could lead to a global boycott.

“Creative problem solving,” said King, “is the ideal we’re both striving for.”  Confrontation, he insisted, was a thing of the past.