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Published: Wednesday, 10/19/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Workers ratify new contract with Ford

Pact covers 41,000 employees in U.S.

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. factory workers have approved a new four-year labor contract by 63 percent.

The United Auto Workers announced the approval Wednesday morning, saying 22,031 voted for it and 12,957 voted against it. A UAW local at northwest Ohio's only Ford plant, an engine plant in Lima, voted 60 percent in favor. The plant has 700 workers.

 "I believe UAW Ford workers understood the importance of each and every vote," said UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles, who directs the union's Ford Department.

"Our members at Ford are frustrated with the economy, the lack of wage increases over the years, outrageous executive compensation and the immorality of Wall Street. Through this process, we have developed open and honest debate, along with high participation among our members...."

The national contract covers 41,000 Ford workers in the United States. The automaker and the UAW reached the agreement Oct. 4, but it needed to be ratified by workers.

UAW President Bob King has expressed confidence the agreement would pass, despite some dissent at other local unions.

Under the Ford contract agreement, most workers will get profit-sharing checks instead of annual raises. Workers also would get a $6,000 signing bonus and the promise of thousands of new jobs in U.S. plants through 2015.

The agreement is more generous than the new contract for General Motors Co. workers, who approved their deal last month by a wide margin. Chrysler Group LLC and the UAW reached a deal last week that isn’t as rich as the ones signed at Ford and GM. Workers at Chrysler, which lost money during the first half of the year, are voting this week.

Still, passage of the Ford contract was in doubt as recently as Friday, when the UAW Ford Department reported on its Facebook page that the deal was being voted down by a slim margin. Then, workers at assembly and parts stamping operations in Chicago voted against the contract.

But late Friday and during the weekend, several other plants, including one that makes the Mustang in Flat Rock, Mich., south of Detroit, and an engine complex in Cleveland, voted in favor, and the vote tipped toward passage.

Workers who opposed the Ford deal were angry the contract doesn’t give back some things they lost in previous agreements, including annual raises, cost-of-living increases, and additional holidays. They also were angry about Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s $26.5 million pay package for 2010.



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