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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 Reopens Contract Talks with General Motors

Skilled trades vote against deal causes new talks.

by on Nov.16, 2015

The UAW reopened contract talks with GM after its skilled trades employees voted the deal down.

After a week of consultation with union members throughout General Motors manufacturing system, the United Auto Workers executive board has elected to re-open negotiations with the automaker on issues of concern to skilled trades.

UAW members classified as skilled trades at GM decisively rejected the union’s tentative contract with the auto giant by a decisive margin of more than 59% even though the contract included an $8,000 signing bonus and 3% pay increase for workers hired before 2007.

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The agreement was ratified by production workers, but the UAW executive board has held off on declaring the contract ratified. (more…)

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.”


GM Invests $1.4 Billion in Texas Plant

Company riding wave of full-size truck, SUV sales with new outlays.

by on Jul.14, 2015

GM is investing in a $1.2 billion expansion of its Arlington, Texas, plant to keep up with demand for large SUVs.

Just a day after meeting with UAW leaders to shake hands and swap expressions of goodwill, General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra gets to enhance the good mood by announcing the company’s plans to invest $1.4 billion in its Arlington, Texas, plant.

The investment is part of a $5.4 billion plan announced in April to upgrade GM plants across North America. This bundle of cash is the largest yet, surpassing the $1.2 billion at its Fort Wayne, Indiana, plant and the $1 billion tabbed for the company’s Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.

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Between the investments in Indiana and now Texas totaling $2.6 billion, it’s clear that GM expects to ride the full-size truck and SUV wave as long as possible. (more…)

Mano a Mano? Cindy Estrada Named Top UAW Negotiator

As new head of GM Dept., she’ll face off with CEO Mary Barra.

by on Jun.06, 2014

Cindy Estrada will lead the UAW's GM workers back to the bargaining table next year.

Cindy Estrada has been named to one of the United Auto Workers Union’s most powerful posts, and as the new head of the UAW’s General Motors Department, the first woman ever in that roll, she will now face off against Mary Barra, the first woman to ever serve as GM CEO.

Estrada’s appointment comes as the first act by the UAW’s new President Dennis Williams, who was elected to that post at the union’s triennial convention this week.

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The 45-year-old Estrada is a veteran member of the union’s board who, as a UAW vice president, has led the union’s efforts to organize workers at supplier plants and in the public sector. A graduate of the University of Michigan and a classroom teacher before joining the UAW’s organizing staff, Estrada’s appointment is unique since her resume doesn’t include full-time employment in the auto sector.


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.


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


“Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” for UAW

Union leaders release formal GM contract details.

by on Sep.20, 2011

GM CEO Dan Akerson and UAW President Bob King shaking hands at the start of the latest round of contract talks, in July.

It was all about “jobs, jobs, jobs” for United Auto Workers Union negotiators as they hammered out their new 4-year contract with General Motors, union leaders said today as they revealed the specific details of the settlement.

But the agreement also contains some significant economic improvements – especially for newly-hired “second-tier” employees who have been earning about half as much as veteran GM workers.

The new contract now goes to a vote by GM’s 64,000 U.S. hourly employees – even as union bargainers resume pick up talks with Chrysler and Ford Motor Co.

“The basis that we went into the agreement with was jobs, jobs, jobs and I think that is what we came out of this agreement with,” said UAW Vice President Joe Ashton.

As first reported over the weekend, under the new contract, GM has agreed to add new products at four plants in Michigan, Tennessee and Missouri.  That should result in the addition of 6,400 UAW jobs.

And, by agreeing to steps that will further enhance GM’s productivity, additional jobs could be created, as well, according to union and company sources.

On the financial side, the UAW won workers a $5,000 signing bonus.  And while the old cost-of-living allowances were not revived there is the potential for up to $4,000 in “inflation protection” during the life of the agreement.

Significantly, the UAW’s profit-sharing formula was enhanced and would have earned each worker $5,000 for 2010, up from the actual $4,300 payout.

One of the toughest battles for bargainers was over the two-tier wage structure long opposed by the UAW but approved as part of a raft of concessions in 2007.  Entry-level workers currently earn between $14 and $16 in wages and benefits.  Over the life of the 4-year contract that will be increased by $3 an hour.  And second-tier workers will get improved medical care, as well.

“Getting that wage up over $19 an hour was very important to us,” said Ashton.

Some workers are still expressing frustration that the two-tier system wasn’t eliminated entirely, but that is not expected to scuttle the ratification vote on the new GM contract, which is expected to stretch out over the next 10 days.

Even before then the union will resume bargaining with Detroit’s other two automakers, said UAW President Bob King, though he said the union has yet to decide which will be the initial focus as Auto Workers aim to finish this year’s negotiations.

UAW Lands Big Gains – While GM Also Meets Key Demands

A closer look at the first of the new Big Three contracts.

by on Sep.19, 2011

Now that GM has settled, the UAW will have to focus on Chrysler and Ford - union chief Bob King shown here with Ford CEO Bill Ford.

Negotiators for General Motors and the United Auto Workers Union might have missed their deadline but the settlement they worked out – peacefully – late last Friday appears to be one that qualifies as the clichéd Win-Win for both labor and management.

Official details won’t be released until tomorrow, after UAW bargainers meet with the local union leaders who’ll have to sell the agreement to the rank-and-file.  But significant details are already leaking out and was able to pull together enough to get a clear understanding of why both sides are pleased with what they’ve hammered out.

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The agreement meets some of the union’s key demands, such as a large signing bonus, improved profit-sharing and increases for new workers hired in under a second-tier wage structure.  At the same time, GM will see steps taken to improve the productivity of its U.S. plants, and it appears likely the maker will actually be able to place even more workers, going forward, into the lower, Tier 2 wage category.