In the interest of remaining competitive with transplants (non-union automotive plants in the U.S. owned and operated by import automakers), Ford and the United Auto Workers union have tentatively agreed on modifications to their current contract that affects some 41,000 hour workers. The exact modifications won't be officially revealed until the UAW and its members have a chance to ratify the contract changes later this week, but Automotive News is reporting that they include additional product commitments by Ford for UAW plants in the U.S., as well as bringing some parts work back in-house. Also reported are reported are concessions by the UAW for more work rule changes and a reduction in the number of skilled-trades classifications, both aimed at increasing productivity and saving money.

Ford is in a tough spot since its cross-town rivals, General Motors and Chrysler LLC, were able to renegotiate their contracts with the UAW under the umbrella of Chapter 11 bankruptcy this past summer. Ford, having avoided accepting any loans from the government and filing Ch. 11, has enjoyed better-than-expected sales the past few months, and so asking its hourly work force for concessions without the pressure of reorganization and while it's doing relatively well is a tough case to make. Nevertheless, it appears that UAW leaders were willing to see Ford's side of things. We'll let you know later this week when the official contract changes are revealed, so stay tuned.

[Source: Ford, Automotive News - sub. req'd | Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty]

PRESS RELEASE

FORD AND UAW REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON LABOR CONTRACT MODIFICATIONS

Editor's Note: The following statement is attributable to Joe Hinrichs, group vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs, Ford Motor Company.

DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 13 – Ford and the United Auto Workers union have reached a tentative agreement on additional modifications to the 2007 UAW-Ford national labor agreement, which would help Ford improve its current and long-term competitiveness in the United States.

The tentative agreement, which covers approximately 41,000 UAW-represented employees in the United States, is subject to ratification by the active UAW-Ford membership. We will not discuss details of the agreement until after the ratification process is complete.


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