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Ford reaches tentative labor contract with UAW, avoids union strike

Gary Jones, president of UAW International, (left) and Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor, shake hands on July 15, 2019 at Ford World Headquarters to begin negotiations for a new contract.


DETROIT – Ford Motor and United Auto Workers have reached a tentative deal on a new labor contract without a strike.

The four-year deal includes $ 6 billion in new investments from Ford and the creation or retention of 8,500 U.S. jobs, according to the union.

Other details of the proposed contract were not disclosed. However, the pact is expected to share many of the same terms as its recent union contract with General Motors. That deal included 3% raises or 4% lump-sum bonuses each year of the contract, retention of roughly 3% of out-of-pocket health-care costs and a way for temporary workers to become full-time employees.

GM also agreed to $ 11,000 ratification bonuses for most of its roughly 48,000 UAW employees, however, previous contracts included lower bonuses for Ford and Fiat Chrysler workers.

The union traditionally uses "bargaining pattern" with the Detroit automakers. It selects a "target" company to negotiate with first. Once a deal is agreed upon and ratified, the union uses the contract as a template for negotiations with the other two automakers.

Ford's talks with the union were expected to be less content and move faster than UAW's talks with GM, which included a 40-day strike that ended Friday and cost the automaker billions.

The Ford contract is likely to be approved or rejected by rank-and-file union members at least a week or two. It still needs approval from local union leaders who will come to Detroit to vote on the deal. If local UAW leaders approve the proposed contract, Ford's roughly 55,500 UAW members must then vote on it.

If members vote the deal down, negotiators will be expected to return to the bargaining table and a strike will once again be an option for the union.

The UAW, if the deal is ratified, would turn its attention to Fiat Chrysler, the last Detroit automaker the union needs to negotiate with for 2019.

The UAW's discussions with Fiat Chrysler are expected to be more content than those with Ford amid a federal probe into union corruption that began with the Italian-American automaker. There's also uncertainty about the company's future amid a potential merger deal confirmed this week with French automaker PSA Group.

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