UAW won’t renegotiate after Ford deal fails

November 3, 2009





UAW won’t renegotiate after Ford deal fails


Ford ‘disappointed’ after union fails to OK concessions



The Detroit News

The United Auto Workers said Monday it will not return to the bargaining table with Ford Motor Co. to renegotiate concessions that were soundly rejected by a majority of 41,000 Ford workers.

The official tally released Monday by the UAW: 70 percent of production workers and 75 percent of skilled trades workers voted against the proposed changes.

"The ratification process proves once again that the membership is the highest authority in our union, and we are respectful of the final outcome," said a statement issued by UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Bob King, who heads the UAW’s Ford unit. They had urged approval.

Ford issued a statement saying it was "disappointed."

"The additional modifications we sought recently were designed to honor pattern bargaining and provide Ford with similar additional efficiencies as those ratified this year for our domestic competitors," said the statement by Joe Hinrichs, group vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs.

But Ford workers who voted no say the automaker, which posted a third-quarter profit of nearly $1 billion Monday, is faring better than General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, and doesn’t need the same concessions.

Ford workers were angered by a proposal to limit the union’s right to strike over pay and benefit increases in the next round of national contract talks in 2011. Workers at GM and Chrysler approved a much broader "no strike" clause during the automakers’ government-mandated reorganizations this year.

Ford and the UAW leadership said they will continue to look for ways to ensure Ford remains competitive.

The rejection doesn’t hurt Ford in the short term, but it could signal that Ford workers will no longer accept the same concessions as GM and Chrysler workers, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, an Ann Arbor think tank.

"They are fairly competitive. Wages and benefits are very similar," Cole said. "But there is no longer a pattern agreement. Now we wait to see if that continues in the next contract talks."



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