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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.


Ford Planning Big Bump in US Production Under New Contract

Maker will shift work back to U.S. from Mexico, Europe.

by on Oct.04, 2011

Ford will build both plug-in and conventional hybrid versions of the new C-Max in the U.S. under the new UAW contract.

Ford Motor Co.’s new contract with the United Auto Workers Union also contained a revealing amount of information about the company’s future production plans — which now appear to include a large bump in U.S. operations.

Along with $6,000 signing bonuses, enhanced profit sharing and $7,000 in inflation protection, the tentative 4-year agreement will add at least 5,750 new UAW jobs, Ford officials announced, with the company acknowledging $6.2 billion in additional investments in products and plants – bringing to $16 billion the commitment it has now made.

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Among the most critical developments, the union appears to have saved the AutoAlliance plant in the Detroit suburb of Flat Rock, which had been operated as a Ford/Mazda joint venture.  The Japanese maker plans to pull out production of its Mazda6 and though it has suggested it might switch to a replacement, that isn’t considered likely.  So, with only the Mustang to build the plant had seemed doomed to closure.


New Settlement Will Increase Ford’s Competitiveness – Yield New Jobs and Investments

Maker hoping it will also trigger a credit rating hike.

by on Oct.04, 2011

The new UAW contract should result in Ford's maintaining the AutoAlliance plant in suburban Detroit which now builds the Ford Mustang and Mazda6. Mazda plans to abandon the plant.

Ford Motor Co. will increase by $16 billion its investment in North America while adding 12,000 new jobs, the maker announced as it confirmed reaching a tentative new contract with the United Auto Workers Union.

While declining to release specific details of the settlement, which was reached in the wee hours of the morning after more than two months of bargaining – and nearly three weeks after the union reached an agreement with General Motors – Ford officials stressed that the new contract will “improve our overall competitiveness.”

Ford is also hoping that, much like the GM agreement, the new contract will be received well by credit rating agencies.  Ford CEO Alan Mulally has made it a top priority to return to investment grade.  S&P last week indicated it would consider an upgrade if the Ford contract appeared similar in its advantages to the settlement won by GM.

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“We believe this agreement,” said Ford EVP John Fleming, “will enable us to increase our overall competitiveness in the United States,” something he underscored by noting the 4-year contract, if ratified, “will also permit us to insource work from Mexico, China, Japan and other parts of the world.”


Breaking News; Ford and UAW Reach Settlement

Chrysler left to settle.

by on Oct.04, 2011

The settlement is expected to see Ford add production of the next-generation Fusion - its design based on this Evos Concept -- at a plant in suburban Detroit, saving thousands of jobs.

Ford and the United Auto Workers Union have reached a tentative settlement covering the automaker’s U.S. hourly workers. The two sides are expected to hail the development as a critical step in maintaining the competitiveness of the domestic auto industry – and bringing jobs back.

The agreement comes more than two weeks after the UAW was able to hammer out an agreement with General Motors and is expected to follow the pattern of the GM agreement.  That would mean substantial bonuses and a small raise for tier-two workers currently earning about half as much as veterans on the line.

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But Ford is also expected to benefit from the agreement, as did GM, through terms designed to improve productivity and offset any added costs.  That is expected to result in the addition of new union jobs, while also helping Ford keep open a plant in the Detroit suburbs many had expected might close.

Ford officials will outline their view of the agreement during a news conference this morning, UAW leaders following several hours later. will have coverage following those events.


Are Ford and UAW Ready to Announce a Deal?

Senior union leaders summoned to Detroit Tuesday morning.

by on Oct.03, 2011

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

Are Ford and the United Auto Workers Union ready to announce a deal on a new 4-year contract?

There are certainly signs that an agreement is at hand, the UAW calling senior local leaders to Detroit for a Tuesday morning meeting that sources indicate will be used to discuss a tentative agreement.  The likely settlement is expected to at least match the gains both General Motors and the union each claimed in the settlement they reached last month – though Ford is also expected to provide a slightly larger bonus to its hourly employees.

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Negotiations, meanwhile, continue at Chrysler, though there are indications the two sides have hit some significant stumbling blocks over issues that include a desired up-front “signing bonus,” as well as an increase in wages for second-tier hourly employees currently earning just half of what veteran Chrysler employees get.


UAW Intensifies Talks at Ford, Chrysler

Despite concerns, meanwhile, GM workers appear ready to approve their new contract.

by on Sep.27, 2011

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne with UAW President Bob King.

United Auto Workers Union negotiators have intensified talks with the Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC as the union pushes for settlements with both automakers.

Obstacles, however, remain including the union’s desire to win a larger signing bonus than at GM, which agreed to a $5,000 one-time payment in a tentative agreement finalized earlier this month.

The GM agreement, meanwhile, appears to be winning solid support among the rank-and-file despite concerns about the continuation of an unpopular two-tier wage program that nets new employees barely half what veteran line workers earn.

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The UAW has put a focus on wrapping up Ford’s contract as soon as possible taking advantage of the relatively good relationship the two sides have long enjoyed.  But negotiations are also moving forward at Chrysler despite recent news reports suggesting those talks were put on hold as the result of a dispute between CEO Sergio Marchionne and union President Bob King.


UAW Turns to Ford; Chrysler Talks on Hold

Ford, Chrysler may resist union efforts to duplicate GM contract.

by on Sep.22, 2011

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

The United Auto Workers union plans to make Ford Motor Co. the focus of the next round of negotiations in its drive to fashion new contracts with domestic automakers as talks with Chrysler are placed on hold.

Chrysler officials have confirmed that the UAW has extended the maker’s contract until October 19th.  Earlier this month, as the September 14th deadline loomed, there were signs Chrysler might, in fact, be the maker likely to come up with the first settlement with the UAW. But a last-minute snag appeared to scuttle the talks and the union went on to reach agreement with General Motors.

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“We look forward to working with the UAW on a new tentative agreement that is fair to our employees and allows Ford to become more competitive,” Ford said in a statement late Wednesday.


Contract Deadline Hours Away, Ford and UAW Agree to Extension

Union focusing on GM, Chrysler for new contract.

by on Sep.14, 2011

For the moment, at least, the UAW has delayed the threat of a strike at Ford.

The United Auto Workers has backed away from a potential strike at the Ford Motor Co. by approving an indefinite contract extension with the automaker.

The current UAW contract was scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday and the union could have automatically called a strike. Union members approved a strike at Ford earlier this month.

“I can confirm that Ford and the UAW have agreed to continue bargaining past the expiration of the current contract in an effort to reach a tentative agreement that is in the best interest of both parties,” said Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans.

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“At this time,” she added, “we are not going to provide further comment about the nature of our discussions, or speculate about timing or the potential outcome of our talks,” Evans.

Meanwhile, the UAW continues to negotiate with General Motors and Chrysler in anticipation of reaching a final agreement.


Coming Down to the Wire: Contract Talks Focusing in on GM

Union reportedly seeking “signing bonuses” of up to $10,000.

by on Sep.12, 2011

GM CEO Dan Akerson and UAW President Bob King shook hands at the opening of contract talks, in July.

Contract talks between the United Auto Workers Union and domestic carmakers are fast approaching the Sept, 14 deadline and UAW negotiators are pushing to wrap up the talks with General Motors and Chrysler first before taking on Ford – the only company the union is legally able to strike this year.

With all three Detroit makers reportedly unwilling to budge with new pay increases or added benefits, labor bargainers are struggling to find something they can take home to members – and are pushing for “signing bonuses” of as much as $10,000 a worker.

Company officials, meanwhile, are dangling the prospect of new U.S. jobs – while that carrot is offset by a stick that threatens to move even more UAW work out of the country.

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There had been much speculation that the UAW would first target Ford, as it is considered the healthiest of the domestic makers – and because the possibility of a strike would appear to give the union more leverage that it might have at GM and Chrysler.  Under terms of their 2009 federal bailouts, those two makers cannot be struck and, should negotiations deadlock, a final decision will be made by an outside arbitrator. But that isn’t how things seem to be working out.


Ford Wants Changes in UAW contract

Automaker wants big changes, including no-strike clause.

by on Jul.21, 2009

Ford quality is up, says CEO Alan Mulally; now it wants more cost-cutting by the UAW.

Ford quality is up, says CEO Alan Mulally; now it wants more cost-cutting by the UAW.

Ford Motor Co. has approached the United Auto Workers Union about changes in the contract that it negotiated in February before General Motors and Chrysler Group LLC used the threat of bankruptcy to obtain even greater concessions from the union.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford group vice president for global manufacturing, said that the company has already discussed possible changes with the UAW and is now ready to negotiate a revised deal.

“On economics we have the same package,” said Hinrichs, referring to the deals granted Chrysler and GM. However, Ford is looking for additional changes in contract language that would consolidate the number of skilled trades classification. That can translate into dramatic reductions in labor costs and marked improvement in productivity – as well as impacting quality.

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Ford had won a reduction in earlier rounds of negotiations in 2006 and 2007, but the new GM and Chrysler contracts go even further, accepting just two classifications.  Ford would like to obtain the same language.