Official: Ford-UAW deal approved, Chrysler is next image

It’s done. Finally, Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers ratified a new labor agreement; a new 4-year contact.

Ford workers voted 63 percent in favor of the agreement in balloting over the last two weeks, the United Auto Workers said yesterday in a statement. As a result, most workers will get $6,000 signing bonuses on Nov. 4, followed shortly by profit-sharing checks averaging $3,750. It also brings $16 billion in investment.

The 20 plants that benefit the include Michigan Assembly in Wayne, AutoAlliance International in Flat Rock, Romeo Engine and other plants in Michigan.

Ford’s Claycomo plant stands to get $1.1 billion in expansion and improvements, and 1,600 additional jobs.

“The American auto industry is on its way back,” UAW President Bob King said in a statement.

Shortly after the announcement, Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service said it may raise Ford’s credit rating. Moody’s said it would complete its reviews of Ford and GM simultaneously, and hasn’t specified what the companies’ new ratings may be.

Ford fell 1.4 percent to $11.40 at the close in New York.

[DDET (View Bob’s King speech)]

“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, who directs 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,” Settles added.

“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. 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.,” said Settles.

“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.

“This agreement adds 5,750 new UAW jobs which mean more than 12,000 new jobs in total with jobs previously announced by Ford. Many of these jobs will be added by the end of 2012, and all will be added during the term of the new contract. 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. The American auto industry is on its way back,” King added.