The United Auto Workers has made it official: Its 41,000 members at Ford Motor Co. voted to accept the tentative agreement, the union announced Wednesday.

Results concluded Tuesday at the 58 UAW-Ford locals.

The final tally after two weeks is 63 percent in favor of the agreement with 22,031 "yes" votes to 37 percent voting against or 12,957 "no" votes, including 4,243 skilled trades voting in favor and 2,268 against. Total number of votes cast was 34,988, according to The Detroit News.

"I am pleased with the strong support for this agreement from UAW Ford members. I believe UAW Ford workers understood the importance of each and every vote," said UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles, head of the union's Ford Department.

"That was evident in the high voter turnout with 85 percent of the overall membership voting, and at locals like Kansas City, where more than 80 percent of members voted and more than 90 percent of those voted in favor of the agreement."

He addressed some of the dissatisfaction shown by members in comments on the UAW-Ford Facebook page during negotiations.

"Working people in this country are clearly frustrated about the inequity in our society. 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," Settles said.

"Through this process, we have developed open and honest debate, along with high participation among our members, and we hope to continue with the debate and activism as we move forward to the 2012 federal election, which is critical not just for our members at Ford, but for all working people in the U.S."

But the main goal was preserving and adding jobs.

"As the nation's economy remains stalled and uncertain and its employment rate stagnates, we were able to win an agreement with Ford that will bring auto manufacturing jobs back to the United States from China, Mexico and Japan," said UAW President Bob King.

Mark Fields, Ford president of the Americas, said, "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.

"Our agreement is fair to our employees and it improves our competitiveness in the U.S."

Ford is planning a conference call with investors Thursday morning to go over the new agreement. The automaker is hoping rating agencies will upgrade its status after securing four years of labor peace with an agreement that keeps Ford's costs competitive.

Ford now joins General Motors Co. in ratifying a new four-year contract. Chrysler Group LLC has just begun voting on its proposed deal. The first local, representing a transmission complex in Kokomo, Ind., voted 56 percent in favor. Chrysler voting will conclude Oct. 25.

The Ford agreement adds 5,750 new UAW jobs, which brings the total to 12,000 over the course of the agreement with positions previously announced.

"As a result of these negotiations, the UAW and the domestic automakers announced a total of 20,000 direct manufacturing jobs including the creation of 6,400 jobs at GM and 2,100 at Chrysler," King said. "The American auto industry is on its way back."

The Ford agreement also includes $16 billion in investment in new vehicles, including $6.2 billion to upgrade plants including Michigan Assembly, AutoAlliance International in Flat Rock, Romeo Engine and some transmission plants.

Outside Michigan, Ford will invest in Kansas City, Louisville, Ky., and Avon Lake, Ohio.

With ratification, workers with a year of seniority will get a $6,000 signing bonus and receive $7,000 in "inflation protection" and other lump-sum payments over the term of the agreement.

Employees are eligible for profit sharing under a new and simpler formula. The first payment will average $3,700 this year.

Entry-level wages were also increased to $19.28 over the term of the agreement.

0 Comments