The United Auto Workers put out a statement on Friday that 55 Ford workers chosen by seniority would be moved from the Tier 2, entry-level pay rate of around $19 per hour to the Tier 1, non-entry-level rate of about $28 per hour. One of the stipulations in the 2011 UAW-Ford agreement was that only 20-percent of the total hourly workforce could be paid the Tier 2 wages agreed upon in 2007; after that, those workers had to be moved to Tier 1. Even so, the new Tier 1 status makes them less expensive to Ford than veteran Tier 1 workers because they receive fewer benefits.

However, Automotive News had reported that same day that Ford was 69 workers shy of the limit, and when AN asked Ford about the situation Ford said it had "some room" on the entry-level roster. If workers do move to the higher pay grade, it will be the first time that's happened since the two-tier system was agreed. But it sounds like there's going to be some haggling between the UAW and Ford before that happens.

Ford is the only one of the Detroit 3 automakers to have to work with a cap, since it didn't go through bankruptcy proceedings during The Great Recession; General Motors and Chrysler jettisoned the cap in 2009. GM is said to have 16 percent of its hourly workers at Tier 2 while Chrysler has 42 percent, but Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has long been opposed to the two-wage system.

The UAW is preparing for its 2015 negotiations with the US automakers. It wants to eliminate the difference in pay by going to the higher scale, if there is a consensus among automakers it seems to be that they also want a single wage, but less than the higher scale, with the addition of profit-based bonuses. The recent statement from the labor union is below.
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UAW President Dennis Williams and UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles announced today that the union is delivering on its promise to convert workers

DETROIT, Jan. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- UAW President Dennis Williams and UAW-Ford Vice President Jimmy Settles announced today that the union is delivering on its promise to convert workers making entry-level wages to traditional employees.

"The 2011 UAW-Ford agreement allows for a contractual limit of entry-level employees. Once that threshold is surpassed, entry-level employees convert by seniority to 'regular, non-entry level employment.' At this time, fifty-five UAW-Ford workers will receive the wage increases, which put them in the category of non entry-level employment.

"By agreeing to the entry-level wages, the UAW was instrumental in creating a pay scale that helped keep Ford Motor Company and other auto manufacturers competitive. The higher wages announced today helps workers, families and the communities where they live and work.

"It is only because of the Collective Bargaining process between UAW and Ford in the 2011 Agreement that workers are getting this opportunity. It is our time to show America that the road to the living wage begins now," said Jimmy Settles, vice-president UAW's Ford department.

Williams said, "Our workers have sacrificed and this is just a milestone within our contract to begin to close the gap in rewarding all of our members. They sacrificed and saved not just an industry, but the American economy."


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