Ford, UAW reach concession agreement

October 13, 2009 http://detnews.com/article/20091013/AUTO01/910130386

Ford, UAW reach concession agreement

BRYCE G. HOFFMAN
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. today announced a tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers that modifies key terms of the 2007 UAW-Ford national contract

The deal, which includes additional concessions, covers approximately 41,000 UAW-represented Ford employees in the United States. It still must be ratified by members.

"(This) would help Ford improve its current and long-term competitiveness in the United States," Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s head of labor relations, said in a statement released this morning. "We will not discuss details of the agreement until after the ratification process is complete."

Local UAW leaders are meeting today in Detroit to discuss the tentative deal.

UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Bob King, who heads the national Ford section, had intended to ask local representatives to approve the negotiations during their last meeting in August. However, they delayed the vote until they could provide more concrete information about what Ford was willing to offer in exchange for the concessions.

Sources briefed on the provisional deal told The Detroit News that the UAW has agreed in principle to freeze entry level wages, limit the union’s right to strike and extend the production team model, which allows workers to perform a wider variety of tasks, companywide.

In exchange, Ford will pay a $1,000 "quality bonus" to workers in March as a reward for recent quality gains and will make additional product commitments to some U.S. factories that could add jobs at some facilities.

General Motors Co. and the Chrysler Group LLC won broader "no-strike" agreements from the UAW and additional limits on skilled trade job classifications during their bankruptcy reorganizations, but both were also required to commit to building small cars in the United States.

If local union leaders vote to recommend ratification of the changes, they will still need to be approved by rank-and-file members. Some locals already have scheduled informational meetings for this weekend, and voting could begin as early as next week.

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