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$5 a Day – How Henry Ford Kick-Started the American Middle Class

Higher wages helped create a market for his Model T.

by on Jan.06, 2014

Ford's big wage hike in January 1914 was a source of headlines across the country.

Looking back in history there are plenty of events that helped shape our collective modern life, such as the inventions of the light bulb and telephone. But perhaps no single moment was more pivotal than a day exactly 100 year ago when Henry Ford announced he would double the pay for 25,000 of his employees.

Not only did Ford boost wages to $5 a day but he cut the time his employees spent toiling on the grueling assembly line from nine to eight hours.

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He was hailed by workers – and inundated by 10,000 job applicants who raced to his Model T plant in the Detroit suburb of Highland Park. The industrialist also was derided by many of his manufacturing colleagues, some declaring him a socialist, others warning that the added costs could bankrupt the Ford Motor Co.


Ford Adding 2,200 New Salaried Jobs

The “direct result” of the One Ford plan, says new president.

by on Jan.11, 2013

Joe Hinrichs became Ford's new President of the Americas last month.

Ford Motor Company plans to hire 2,200 salaried workers in the U.S. this year – the largest increase in new salaried workers in more than a decade.

The move comes a day after the market announced it would double its quarterly dividend in recognition of its improving financial condition. The maker yielded a more than 11% profit margin for the first nine months in its core North American operations.

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After years of deep cuts, the auto industry has been among the most aggressive sectors of the economy when it comes to adding jobs over the last several years, Ford’s announcement coming a day after both Honda and General Motors announced significant plans to recruit more blue and white-collar workers of their own.


Ford Hands Raises, Bonuses to White-Collar Workers

First raise since 2010.

by on Jan.19, 2012

Ford CEO Alan Mulally: time to share the wealth.

About 20,000 Ford workers will have reason to celebrate after receiving their first combination of merit raises and bonuses since 2008.

The announcement – first revealed in a letter to workers last week – reflects the maker’s increasing fortunes, Ford reporting $6.6 billion in earnings for the first three quarters and expecting to add about $1.7 billion more to that tally, according to analysts’ estimates, when it reports earnings for the last quarter later this month.

The raises, which will take effect on April 1 should average about 2.7% and apply to 20,000 salaried employees – most of them in the U.S. and Canada.

Workers were given performance bonuses last year, and merit raises in 2010.  The last time they received both bonuses and pay hikes was in 2008.

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White-collar workers have normally received substantial financial packages in the Detroit industry but pay and benefits were sharply curtailed during the years leading up to the Great Recessions, when both General Motors and Ford were forced into bankruptcy.  Ford was able to avoid a Chapter 11 filing by taking on about $30 billion in debt – which it is now rushing to pay down.


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.


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.