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Workers Close to Rejecting New Ford Contract

UAW leaders step up effort to win over rank-and-file.

by on Nov.18, 2015

UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles now has to win over workers at two key Ford plants.

Workers at two major Ford Motor Co. plants have roundly rejected the tentative four-year contract they’ve been offered by the automaker, raising the specter that this agreement might also go down to defeat, much like the settlement originally offered by Fiat Chrysler AG earlier this autumn.

That would be the latest setback for the leadership team at the United Auto Workers Union, UAW bargainers already struggling to pull things together at General Motors. Line workers there accepted their own contract offer, but that deal was rejected by skilled trades employees.

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In an unusual move, union leaders were scheduled to hold a news conference Wednesday morning to address the situation and lay out plans to move forward. Under UAW President Dennis Williams, the union has been struggling to win over workers who want to make significant gains after years of concessions and who see the auto industry setting record sales and near-record profits.


UAW Workers Asked to Authorize Strikes at GM, Fiat Chrysler

Move a bargaining tool; confrontations unlikely.

by on Aug.18, 2015

GM CEO Mary Barra and UAW Pres. Dennis Williams chat before the start of a media Q&A session.

For the first time since General Motors and Chrysler were rescued by federal bailouts, workers at the two companies are being asked to authorize a strike at the two companies should they fail to lock down new contracts with the United Auto Workers Union by the September 14th deadline.

The moves are seen as procedural, however, and don’t reflect signs of trouble in the negotiations that began last month. If anything, UAW officials have said they would see a walkout as a failure and would use it only as a last resort. And the two automakers say they see no reason for a walkout.

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“The strike vote is part of the UAW’s democratic process that occurs every contract year,” GM spokeswoman Katie McBride said. “We remain committed to working with our UAW partners on an agreement that benefits employees and strengthens GM’s long-term competitiveness.”


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.”


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 Ratifies GM Contract by 2-1 Margin

Talks pick up pace at Ford, Chrysler.

by on Sep.28, 2011

UAW President Bob King confirmed the GM contract had been ratified by a 2-1 margin.

The United Auto Workers Union’s rank-and-file has approved a new four-year contract with General Motors by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.

The new four-year contract is effective immediately and also is expected to lead to the creation of 6,500 new jobs over the next couple of years at GM plants in the U.S. – perhaps more as it may prompt GM to bring work back to the U.S. from Mexico and Canada.

The final vote tally was 65% in favor of the agreement among production workers, and 63% in favor among skilled trades workers. Retirees, many of whom were angered by contract lack of pension improvements, were not eligible to vote.

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The vote in favor of the contract while more than enough to ensure passage was actually  low by historical standards, indicating a sizeable number of union members were dissatisfied with the pact.  And it suggests the union could face rugged ratification votes after it settles contracts with Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC