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Despite Fears of Rejection, Workers at Ford, GM Ratify Contracts

Approval frees union leaders to shift focus to new organizing efforts.

by on Nov.21, 2015

GM and UAW officials shown on July 13, 2015 marking the opening of contract talk.

Workers at both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors voted to accept each of their new four-year contract offers, in the process ending what had turned into an unexpectedly contentious round of negotiations – workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles soundly rejecting their own first contract offer.

A variety of offers pitted not only the United Auto Workers Union against Detroit’s Big Three but also saw the UAW having to fend off more militant members of the union. Starting with President Dennis Williams on down, Autoworkers leaders mobilized to sell a revised Chrysler contract. But they continued to run into trouble even with more lucrative offers from GM and Ford.

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At the smaller of the two, 51.3% of production workers and 52.4% of Ford’s skilled tradesmen voted for the contract. Among other things, that vote will earn 53,000 Ford workers ratification bonuses of $8,500.

“Through a fair and democratic process UAW-Ford members have delivered job security and strong economic gains for their families and communities,” said Jimmy Settles, vice president of the UAW’s Ford department.


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.”


Canadian Auto Workers Target Ford

Strike deadline looming at midnight.

by on Sep.17, 2012

Canadian Auto Workers Pres. Ken Lewenza has picked Ford as the union's strike target.

The Canadian Auto Workers Union has selected Ford Motor Co. as the focus of its final push for a new contract. The current agreement expires at 11:59 p.m. Monday and the CAW warns it will strike Ford if no agreement is reached before then.

It would be the first national walkout by Canadian automotive workers since 1996 and the threat underscores the remaining differences in contract talks that have turned quite bitter over industry demands for extensive concessions meant to bring down labor costs north of the border.

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During a press conference in Toronto Sunday CAW president Ken Lewenza did offer some positive encouragement, however, indicating progress was made in recent days in its talks with Ford which has been picked as the so-called “strike target.” Like its American counterpart, the union usually settles in on one maker that it sees most likely to yield the best settlement putting talks with the other Detroit makers temporarily on hold.


UAW Hourly Workers Approve Chrysler Contract

But rejection by skilled trades workers raises problems.

by on Oct.26, 2011

Chrysler workers barely approved their new contract.

Members of the United Auto Workers Union have ratified their new four-year labor agreement with Chrysler Group LLC but also opened the door to protests inside the company that union leaders could find difficult to control.

The new agreement covers approximately 26,000 hourly and salaried workers employed by Chrysler in the U.S.

The vote tally was released barely a week after Ford workers approved their own contract by a two-to-one majority.  At Chrysler the results were significantly closer, the “Yes” vote totaling only 55%.  And even then, the union had to resort to a procedural maneuver after skilled tradesmen voted down their portion of the contract by 69 percent to 31 percent.

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“Because a majority of UAW skilled trades members voted against the tentative hourly agreement, under the UAW Constitution, the UAW International Executive Board (IEB) investigated the reasons skilled members voted against the proposed agreement and determined that these reasons were predominantly economic and not unique to skilled trades members.  Accordingly, the IEB declared the agreements ratified under the UAW Constitution,” the union said in a statement.


Ford Posts $1.65 Bil Earnings for 3Q

Carmaker’s 10th consecutive quarter in the black.

by on Oct.26, 2011

Ford overcame some headwinds, according to CEO Alan Mulally, with its 3Q profit.

Barely a week after getting union approval for a new 4-year contract that should ultimately reduce its labor costs, Ford Motor Co. announced a $1.65 billion net profit, or 41 cents a share, for the third quarter of 2011.  It marks the Detroit carmaker’s tenth consecutive quarter in the black.

But the latest numbers marked a slight decline from year-ago earnings, which totaled $1.69 billion.  And the results for the July – September period were down even more sharply from the second quarter of this year, when Ford reported a $2.4 billion net profit.

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But Ford had previously signaled it might have a weaker quarter, reflecting not only the cost of launching new products but also the impact of rising commodity prices.

“We delivered solid results for the third quarter despite an uncertain business environment,” contended CEO Alan Mulally, in a prepared release.


Debt Rating on the Rise, Will Ford Restore Dividend?

Maker gets vote of confidence with Fitch credit upgrade.

by on Oct.21, 2011

After an initial bump look for Ford's labor costs to come down, says President Mark Fields.

Editor’s Note: This story has been revised to reflect a subsequent upgrade in Ford’s credit rating by S&P, the agency removing Ford from its CreditWatch.

With a key debt rating agency giving it the thumbs-up – and further hikes anticipated – Ford Motor Co. is signaling it may soon restore its dividend, a move that could, in turn, help revive the maker’s flagging stock price.

With Ford now indicating its new contract with the United Auto Workers Union will actually lower its labor costs, Fitch Ratings bumped the carmaker’s credit rating up a notch to “BB+” on Thursday, S&P taking the same step on Friday while also removing Ford from its CreditWatch.  Those upgrades fall just one step short of reaching the investment grade targeted by Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

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In the past, it had been expected that Ford would wait until getting that investment grade status before restoring the dividend but, during a meeting with investors, Chief Financial Officer Lewis Booth indicated the additional upgrade, “is not an absolute necessity to pay dividends.”

If anything, analysts say such a move would pay big dividends for Ford.  The quarterly payout is a requirement in some investment communities, such as insurance companies and government pension plans, according to Joe Phillippi, chief analyst with AutoTrends Consulting.


UAW Makes It Official: Ford Contract Approved

Voting begins on Chrysler settlement.

by on Oct.19, 2011

The new Ford contract covers 41,000 U.S. workers.

Despite widespread dissatisfaction with the contract’s terms among union members, the United Auto Workers has officially declared the new pact with the Ford Motor Co ratified.

The results of voting released by the union showed 63%, or 22,031, union members in favor of the agreement, while 37%, or 12,957, opposed the contract. Last month, union members had approved a new four -year agreement with General Motors.

Voting, meanwhile, is just getting underway on the new Chrysler settlement – which observers believe will likely be impacted by the approval of the Ford contract.

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“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.”


Workers Approve Ford Pact

Eyes now on Chrysler.

by on Oct.19, 2011

UAW Pres. Bob King shakes hands with Ford Chairman Bill Ford as negotiations open in July.

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.

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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.


Ford Contract Near Approval

Late votes overcome early resistance.

by on Oct.17, 2011

Rouge workers have given thumbs-up to the new Ford contract, likely preventing its defeat.

A big ‘”yes” vote by workers at the Rouge manufacturing complex in Dearborn, Michigan appears to have saved the United Auto Workers Union tentative agreement with Ford Motor Co. and removed the potential for a strike against the automaker had the contract been rejected.

The threat of a strike had become increasingly likely, last week, as voting moved ahead on the 4-year settlement, workers at several key plants turning thumbs down in the hopes of sending negotiators back to the bargaining table for an even more lucrative offer from the most profitable of the Detroit Big Three automakers.

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The Rouge was seen by some as the make-or-break plant since it is one of the centers of dissent over the new contract.  That sent UAW leaders scurrying to try to curry support.  Their lobbying appears to have paid off and Local 600 reported that the yes votes favoring the contract totaled 3255, or 62%, while 2027, or 38%, voted to rejected the proposed agreement, according to information supplied by the union.

With the suburban Detroit complex voting in favor, the Ford contract now appears headed for ratification despite some fierce resistance.