Ford Rolling Over To Union On Tuition Assistance

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
ford rolling over to union on tuition assistance
With talk of a 2010 profit breaking out at Ford’s annual shareholder’s meeting, the UAW’s criticism of the Blue Oval’s decision to restore merit pay to white-collar workers is gaining some traction. UAW boss-in-waiting Bob King laid into Ford yesterday, arguing that the union’s sacrifices entitled it to a bigger piece of Ford’s success. As a result, Nasdaq reports that Ford is in talks to restore tuition assistance to its 41k hourly, UAW-represented workers. [UPDATE: Automotive News [sub] reports the deal is done]College tuition reimbursement was one benefit Ford had restored to salaried employees back in March. Because apparently Ford does have other priorities besides buying down its ruinous debtload. Meanwhile, as we pointed out yesterday, union-represented workers are paid considerably less than white-collar workers at GM, and the differential in pay between the two employee classes is enormous compared to the transplant competition. But is the union holding GM’s feet to the fire, even though it is sitting on vast cash reserves (courtesy of the American and Canadian taxpayers)? Of course not. The UAW’s VEBA fund owns 17.5 percent of GM, whereas it has no such stake in Ford. Once again, by not taking a government bailout, Ford has been able to gain some momentum with consumers, but faces a far less cooperative union than its domestic competition. Which, as history proves, can be a major stumbling block to long-term success.
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  • Z71_Silvy Z71_Silvy on May 14, 2010

    "arguing that the union’s sacrifices entitled it to a bigger piece of Ford’s success." Absolutely.

  • Rudiger Rudiger on May 14, 2010

    That's quite an interesting little photo of Henry Ford's union-busting thug Harry Bennett, Ford himself, and John Corlisle. I can't imagine Bennett thinking very highly of Ford's Camp Legion project to train disabled vets (which Corlisle ran). I'm no fan of the present-day UAW, but if there was ever a poster child for the necessity of labor unions in the US, it's Harry Bennett.

  • John Horner John Horner on May 14, 2010

    As Ford begins to recover, it shares a little of the upside with the people who actually build the products it sells. Oh, the horror! I must have missed the article wherein TTAC bashed Ford's restoration of white collar merit pay increases. Also, you might want to read any of the numerous excellent historical treatments of Harry Bennett's reign of terror @ Ford in the bad old days. History has not proven that Unions = Bad Car Companies. All of the German auto makers are heavily unionized, and Union reps sit on the board of directors there. Hyundai is heavily unionized @ home as well.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on May 14, 2010

    By not taking bailouts, not many of us have a leg to stand on for critiquing what has been so far quite a turnaround, at least in the public perception. It's that same perception that has innoculated Toyota from dramatically reduced sales. Perception is reality. To see the union handle Ford differently than GM or Chrysler is not surprising. Many of us have come to expect the UAW to behave in this manner. There's not much hate for the white collar workers, as the perception is that they're rewarded (for the most part, except those in very upper management and the C-suite) based on performance instead of a contract binding Ford to pay them a certain salary regardless if they're good at their job or not.