UAW Workers Accept New Ford Contract

Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) have approved a new four-year deal with Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) after two weeks of voting with little drama or controversy. An estimated 55,000 UAW-represented hourly workers in Ford manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, and New York are covered by the deal. The contract was supported by 56.3 percent of Ford members who voted, according to the UAW.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president, Automotive, said in a prepared statement, “We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreement quickly with the UAW without a costly disruption to production. This deal helps Ford enhance our competitiveness and protect good-paying manufacturing jobs. Working with the UAW, we have added flexibility to our operations while keeping labor costs in line with projected U.S. manufacturing labor inflation costs and still rewarded our workers for their important contributions to the company.”

The 2019 UAW contract provides for the creation and retention of more than 8,500 jobs, with 19 facilities promised investments of up to $6 billion. The contract also includes a $9,000 ratification bonus for seniority employees and $3,500 for temporary workers. The employees will receive wage increases of 3 percent in the second and fourth years and 4 percent lump sums, calculated on base pay, in alternate years.

Members will retain their health-care benefits at no additional cost. UAW-Ford employees pay on average 3 percent of total health-care costs, compared to 28 percent for the average American household. The contract also included various discounts for retail clinics and telemedicine.

The union will now turn its attention to Fiat Chrysler, the last of the Detroit automakers the union needs to negotiate with for 2019. The Italian-American automaker is currently seeking a merger with French automaker PSA Group, which could complicate the discussions. Fiat Chrysler’s 2015 agreement has been extended indefinitely, though either party can submit a three-day termination notice.