Automotive News reports that the United Auto Workers is close to ratifying a new labor agreement with Ford. The union says that 63 percent of its members have voted in favor of the four-year deal, and that a total of 15,862 workers had voted for the agreement. The UAW said that 9,375 ballots have been cast against the measure, and voting is set to close today.
Ford is optimistic that the deal will be ratified, despite the fact that the company's Chicago assembly plant rejected the measure. If enough members follow suit, Ford could face a strike. While the UAW voted to ban strikes in negotiations with General Motors and Chrysler, the union held onto its biggest bargaining chip with Ford.

Still, UAW Local 600 voted for the measure. As the largest Ford local union, the Local 600 is viewed as a bellwether for negotiations with the automaker. With voting close to closing up, it appears as if both Ford and the UAW have managed to narrowly avoid a strike, which Ford hadn't faced since 1976.

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