After two weeks of bargaining, it appears that Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have come to an agreement on terms for a new labor contract. The main points of focus center around new jobs, significant investments in U.S. factories, and a number of other benefits for workers.
When we originally reported at the beginning of negotiations, Ford had promised 10,000 new jobs in the U.S. That figure has swelled to 12,000. The automaker has pledged to pump $16 billion of investments into new models and upgraded automobiles by 2015. $6.3 billion of that will be invested directly into retooling and plant upgrades in the United States.
Ford is repeating the bonus concept employed by General Motors in their agreement with the UAW – bonuses for every worker if the contract is ratified. Every employee that has been with Ford for at least a year will receive a check for $6,000 if voters approve the package. Those who have been with Ford for less than a year will get $5,000.
Workers will continue to reap benefits, including a $1,500 annual lump sum payment described as “inflation protection” in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Profit sharing bonuses have been upgraded, with an average bonus for 2011 expected to ring in at $3,700. Workers are guaranteed at least $16,752 in bonuses over the life of the agreement.
Pay levels will improve for entry level workers, rising to $19.28 an hour by the time this contract expires. And for those who are ready to retire and plan to do so by March 31, 2012, production employees will get a $50,000 bonus and skilled trades workers will get a $100,000 bonus.
Of the agreement, the UAW told its members that “we employed new strategies and tactics in these difficult economic times” and that they had won “major improvements we all can be proud of.”
Workers have 10 days to ratify the agreement, which we expect to happen. The UAW will now move on to again negotiating with Chrysler as they did once the General Motors agreement was secured. However, talks with Chrysler broke down and the union moved to get the pact with Ford completed first.