Members of the United Auto Workers have ratified the last of three labor contracts that include a dramatic reduction in wages for new employees of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, and shifts the burden for retiree healthcare to a new, independent fund, the union said Wednesday.
The union announced Ford’s workers voted 81 percent in favor of the four-year pact, while 71 percent of skilled-trades workers approved the contract. Overall, 79 percent of UAW Ford members voted in favor of the contract.
The union reached a tentative agreement with Ford on Nov. 3 without the short strike that had marked the conclusion of negotiations with GM and Chrysler.
Ron Gettelfinger, UAW president, said that while the union had made sacrifices it also made some notable gains.
“Our bargaining team negotiated a contract that protects wages, benefits, and seniority for our active members and provides income and healthcare security for our retired members,” he said. "Now it’s up to Ford to successfully bring to market the top-quality vehicles our members are building in UAW Ford factories,” he said.
“We obtained solid commitments from the company to keep plants open and to invest in UAW members and union-made products here in the
Alan Mulally, Ford's chief executive officer, vowed during an appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show, that the company is committed to offering consumers affordable and environmentally friendly vehicles.
"We are focusing on sustainable technology solutions that can be used not for hundreds or for thousands of cars but for millions of cars,” Mulally told the assembled press.
The new contract covers about 54,000 active workers at Ford and more than 94,000 Ford retirees and 28,000 surviving spouses. It will expire Sept. 14, 2011.
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