By on November 16, 2019

2018 Ford F150 assembly line -Image: Ford

Avoiding the six-week strike that marked the end of contract negotiations between the UAW and General Motors, unionized workers at Ford ratified a four-year labor deal on Friday by a fairly narrow margin.

Roughly 55,000 UAW-affiliated Ford workers voted 56.3 percent in favor of the new deal, which carries many of the benefits secured through the earlier GM contract. It’s on to Fiat Chrysler after this.

While labor peace has been achieved, it was a slightly narrower win than the tally returned by GM workers. Late last month, 57 percent of that automaker’s workforce voted in favor of its contract.

Like that deal, the contract includes raises (two hikes of 3 percent), boosted bonuses (two four-percent gifts), maintains the status quo on healthcare costs, and dumps $6 million into domestic facilities over the next four years.

“Ford’s commitment to job security and assembly in the United States is a model for American manufacturers,” said acting UAW President Rory Gamble in a statement. “This is a life changing contract for many and provides a template for all future Ford UAW members to a full-time, top-rate status. There will be no more permanent temporary situations and no more permanent tiers.”

Ford will take a $700 million hit in the next quarter as a result of the increased payouts, Automotive News reports. Under the agreement, full-timers get a $9,000 ratification bonus; temporary workers see $3,500.

Not surprisingly, a majority of workers at Ford’s Romeo Engine plant voted against the deal — the facility turns out the lights under the automaker’s plan. Workers at Lima Engine in Ohio also thumbed their noses at the deal, joined by workers at the still-troubled Chicago Assembly. In the final day of voting, a large contingent of “no” votes rolled in from Louisville Assembly and Kentucky Truck. Some 67 percent of the 12,000 workers at those facilities rejected the deal, transforming the comfortable lead enjoyed by the “yes” side to a narrower margin.

While Ford claims the contract adds or retains some 8,500 jobs, it wouldn’t provide a specific number for workers added.

[Image: Ford]

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