Ford, UAW Agreement Could Create Over 5,000 Jobs

Some work returning to U.S.

Ford Motor Company reached a tentative four-year deal with the United Auto Workers union that could mean the creation of 5,750 new jobs, Ford announced on Oct. 4.

The new contract, which covers 41,000 workers at Ford, the country's number two auto maker, has to be approved by the UAW members.

But together with 7,000 new jobs announced at the beginning of the year, it would mean more than 12,000 new positions in the group over the life of the contract -- some of them involving the return to the United States of work now done in Mexico, China and Japan.

"We are pleased that, by working together with the UAW, we reached a deal that is fair to our employees and that improves Ford's competitiveness in the U.S.," said John Fleming, Ford's executive vice president for global manufacturing and labor affairs.

"This agreement allows us to make even more progress on our One Ford plan and our focus on the great products, stronger business and better world that will deliver continued profitable growth for all."

The agreement includes $16 billion in US investments -- including $6.2 billion for Ford plants in the United States -- all to design, engineer and produce more new and upgraded vehicles and components by 2015.

Fleming said some of the specifics of the new deal were being withheld pending ratification by workers.

But UAW president Bob King has said he expects it to follow the pattern set in the UAW's new contract with General Motors, announced last week. That deal included pay increases totaling $3 per hour for second tier workers and a lump sum signing bonus of $5,000. The signing bonus is expected to increase at Ford.

The settlement came after a week of intensive discussions and averted a potential strike at Ford, which avoided bankruptcy during the 2008-2009 crisis in the industry.

In contrast to the union's relations with General Motors and Chrysler, it hasn't staged a strike at Ford since 1976.
Compensation for Ford's executives could become a rallying cry for union dissidents hoping to derail the new agreement.
Ford has made $14.2 billion in profits since the end of 2008 and chief executive Alan Mulally and executive chairman Bill Ford each earned $26.5 million in 2010, an amount that has drawn criticism from King.

Union dissidents have cited Mulally's compensation in their calls to eliminate the wide pay gap between first and second tier workers, more than $14 per hour.On the other hand, earlier this year Ford paid hourly workers profit-sharing checks that averaged $5,000 a piece based on 2010's results, more than the profit-sharing formula required.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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