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Ford Missouri Workers Reject Concessions, Union Says

Ford Missouri Workers Reject Concessions, Union Says (Update1)
 

 

By Keith Naughton

 

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) — Ford Motor Co. factory workers in Missouri voted 92 percent against labor concessions that would match agreements the United Auto Workers reached with the automaker’s U.S. rivals, a union official said.

Workers casting ballots at the Ford Escape factory in Claycomo voted 1,712 against to 147 in favor of the givebacks, Gary Walkowicz, a union official at UAW Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan, said today. He received results of yesterday’s vote from two representatives at the plant.

UAW Vice President Bob King appeared at Claycomo, which employs 3,737 hourly workers, yesterday to promote the accord that calls for a six-year ban on strikes over wages and benefits and a freeze on pay for new hires, Walkowicz said.

Ford, the only major U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy, won support from UAW local leaders Oct. 13 on an agreement to grant concessions similar to those secured by General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC. Ford’s 41,000 U.S. hourly workers began voting Oct. 22 and will continue through Oct. 31.

Factory workers in Cleveland and Wayne, Michigan, have approved the concessions, while employees at two plants in Michigan as well as the Claycomo workers have rejected it, Walkowicz said.

“People are angry,” said Walkowicz, a member of the bargaining committee at a Ford pickup truck factory in Dearborn. “There’s a lot of pressure from the international union to accept this, but people aren’t buying it.”

Bonus Offered

Ford is offering workers a $1,000 bonus tied to quality and productivity targets and pledges of new production to help win approval of the deal. The Claycomo plant has been promised work by Ford, according to a UAW summary of the latest tentative agreement.

“We are not going to comment until after the voting is completed,” in all Ford plants, Mark Truby, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail.

UAW spokesman Roger Kerson didn’t have an immediate comment when reached by phone.

The concessions are the second round of givebacks sought by the Dearborn-based automaker this year. In March, 59 percent of production workers and 58 percent of skilled-trades employees approved concessions that included giving up annual bonuses and cost-of-living increases and some layoff benefits.

Ford rose 19 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $7.82 at 9:58 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have more than tripled this year.

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