Though the final tally won’t be released until later today it is now clear that the Ford Motor Co.’s tentative contract with the United Auto Workers Union will be approved.
Workers in Louisville, Kentucky accepted the agreement yesterday, and though the votes at a few small plants were still being tallied it was mathematically ensured that the 4-year settlement will take effect. The contract had generated significant opposition and, with workers at several key plants turning thumbs down it briefly appeared the contract would be rejected, possibly triggering a strike.
The new contract, which will cover Ford’s 41,000 U.S. hourly workers, gave both sides the opportunity to claim victory, with Ford committing to increase investments in the country and add new jobs but the union accepting that the agreement had to maintain the maker’s cost competitiveness.
As a result, there were no raises for the majority of workers – though those being hired in under a second-tier wage program will see wages rise, on average, by about $3 an hour over the life of the agreement. The new contract does provide a $6,500 up-front signing bonus. And that compares with $5,000 at General Motors – which settled with the UAW in September – and just $3,500 at Chrysler.