After a tense two weeks of voting, with plenty of drama last week when it appeared Ford workers were well on their way to rejecting a new UAW contract, the agreement was ratified late on Tuesday, October 18.
Members of UAW Local 862 in Louisville, Kentucky voted 53.3 percent in favor of the pact. Because the two Louisville Ford plants employ a whopping 13.3 percent of the total manufacturing employees at Ford, their votes were enough to push approval of the contract over the top, even though a number of plants had still yet to vote. The workers in Louisville make products like the Ford F-150, Explorer and Escape.
After the vote concluded, Todd Dunn, president of Local 862 said “It was closer than I thought it would be. Now we’ve got to look at how the work is going to come in.”
The four-year contract will give each of Ford’s 40,600 hourly workers a $6,000 signing bonus. They’ll also benefit from a profit-sharing bonus plan that’s estimated to be slightly above $4,000 – meaning each can expect to receive more than $10,00 before 2011 is over, in addition to their regular take home pay. And we thought General Motors’ $5,000 signing bonus was generous!
Now that the contract drama is over, it’s up to Ford to make significant investments – billions in upgrades and retooling – in their U.S.-based manufacturing plants, adding 10,000 new jobs to the struggling economy, 4,000 of which will come simply from moving Fusion production stateside back from Mexico. The Fusion is Ford’s best selling car, and they’re on pace to move well north of 200,000 by the end of 2011.