Chicago Assembly reject Ford deal; Strike very possible image

Another major Ford plant has voted against the proposed agreement with the UAW.

Ford Motor Co. workers at the Chicago Assembly Plant have overwhelmingly voted down the proposed labor contract with the United Auto Workers.

Nearly 77 percent of members rejected the contract, medical said Scott Houldieson, financial secretary for United Auto Workers Local 551, which represents plant employees.

At the same time, the UAW is reportedly making it known that, should the tentative agreement not be ratified, the organization will strike. Of the three major U.S. automakers, both General Motors and Chrysler workers lost the right to strike while those companies were restructuring in bankruptcy.

A rejection of the proposed contract at Ford would open the door to a period of uncertainty at the No. 2 U.S. automaker. The two sides might return to negotiations, or the union might give Ford a 72-hour strike deadline, analysts said.

Ford hasn’t had a strike since 1976.

The proposed deal with Ford calls for a US$16bn investment for new and updated vehicles and components over the next four years and the addition of more than 5,000 new jobs, on top of Ford’s previously announced 7,000 jobs.

In Michigan earlier this week, 51 percent of more than 2,500 workers in one local union voted against the deal.