Ford/UAW Strike Deal; F150 Plant One of the Winners

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The UAW approves Ford’s new 4-year labor contract
by Patrick Rall

This morning, Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union announced that the workers had voted to ratify the tentative 4-year contract that Ford and the union negotiator proposed on October 4th. 

Ford currently employs roughly 40,600 UAW members and over the past two weeks, union workers from local branches around the country have headed to their local union hall to cast their votes on the new deal.  In the end, 34,988 workers voted on the new contract with 22,031 workers (63%) voting “yes” while the other 12,957 (37%) voted against the agreement ““ accounting for an overall voting turnout of 85% of Ford’s union workforce.  The 2 to 1 voting results come as great news for Ford, especially considering that the early voting saw workers from major plants in Detroit and Chicago lean strongly towards rejecting the new deal.

The major points of the wordy 4-year deal between the UAW and Ford Motor Company includes a $6,000 signing bonus for all workers, an annual lump sum bonus of $1,500 in place of annual cost of living raises, 12,000 total jobs added or protected around the country with almost 6,000 of those jobs being new and directly related to the new 4- year labor contract.  Finally, Ford has made a hefty investment promise of over $16 billion to various plants around the country to prepare them to produce future vehicles.  Of that $16 billion earmarked for facility investments, $6.3 billion will go to retool and improve a handful of factories around the US.

Key points that pertain to the Ford F Series includes upgrades to the Kansas City Assembly Plant, which currently builds F150 pickups, but it will soon begin producing the Transit Commercial Van for the US and some foreign markets.  Also, the Avon Lake facility in Ohio will soon cease production of the E Series van with production of the F650 and F750 trucks moving to Avon Lake from the current production point in Mexico.

The Flat Rock Assembly Plant (aka Auto Alliance) in Michigan currently builds the Ford Mustang and the Mazda 6 sedan, but there were concerns that when Mazda ends production of the Mazda 6, Ford would not be able to keep the plant busy enough to warrant keeping it open.  However, this new 4-year deal outlines that overflow production of the next generation Ford Fusion will be made there.  Ford’s prime production point for the Fusion sedan is in Mexico.  Now that the Fusion will see production in Flat Rock, the Ford Mustang’s home is safe ““ which will include production of the next generation Mustang (around 2014).

The Louisville Kentucky plant that previously built the Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer will be retooled to build the next generation Ford Escape on the new global platform.  Louisville will also get an additional vehicle to be named at a later date.

Finally, the Michigan Assembly Plant where the new Ford Focus is built will also begin building Ford F-Max hybrid and plugin electric vehicles with hybrid drive components produced at the company’s Van Dyke transmission plant.

"This agreement is proof that, by working together with our UAW partners and local communities, we can significantly create new jobs, invest in our plants and people, and make a very positive impact on the U.S. economy," said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company’s president of The Americas. "Our agreement is fair to our employees and it improves our competitiveness in the U.S."

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