Ford is the third carmaker to cut a four-year deal with UAW, following GM and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The move is the direct result of years of joint work to lessen the number of classifications of skilled trade workers.
The 53,000 United Auto Workers members employed at Ford Motors gave a very close positive vote on the proposed plan and finally agreed to a new four-year contract last Friday. According to UAW leaders, 51.3 percent of general production workers and 52.4 percent of skilled workers said “yes” to the new contract. The company immediately released a statement saying that “this agreement provides a good foundation for Ford Motor Company, our employees and our communities as we work together to create an even stronger business in the years ahead.” Jimmy Settles, the chief Ford negotiator appointed by UAW, also declared that the agreement was the result of a “fair and democratic process” and that it provided “job security and strong economic gains” for employees.
The ratification marks a victory for all involved parties, as last Wednesday inside reports predicted bleak results, with 52 percent of all Ford workers rejecting the agreement after three quarters of the votes casted being counted. More bad news came from a Ford facility in Chicago, where 68 percent of all workers also gave a thumb down to the plan. However, a final push from UAW leaders ensured the agreement was passed, granting Ford veteran workers their first payment increase in the last ten years. The agreement also eliminates the two-tier payment system, which was a constant after 2007 in the US auto market, allowing automakers to pay workers hired after this year less than senior union members. Similarly to GM workers, the labor cost for Ford employees until 2019 will amount to 60 dollars per hour, out of each pay is almost half, a three-dollar increase from the previous situation.