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Ford workers in Louisville, Ky., approve labor deal

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ford workers in Louisville, Ky., approve labor deal

Louis Aguilar / The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. workers in Louisville, Ky., narrowly approved changes to their national labor contract Sunday. The vote was the third vital victory over the weekend for the concessions, which Ford says will save the automaker billions.

The contract changes won approval of 53 percent of voting members, UAW Local 862 President Rocky Comito told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Sunday evening. "They did what they had to do," Comito said.

The local represents 5,600 workers at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly Plant. Local 600 in Dearborn, representing workers at the massive Rouge complex, approved the measures in voting that ended Friday evening. Workers at the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio, approved them Saturday.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger urged members to vote in favor of the modified agreement, and all local UAW presidents endorsed the changes. But at least four locals rejected the measures last week.

The workers are being asked to accept a pay freeze, suspend a controversial layoff program called the jobs bank, forgo bonuses and change how the automaker pays for retiree health care.

Monday is the deadline for all UAW locals to complete the vote. A simple majority is needed to pass the measures.

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