The United Auto Workers (UAW) and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) have reached an agreement on a proposed tentative labor contract. The deal was being negotiated at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan by teams led by Rory Gamble, vice president of the UAW Ford Department, and Bill Dirksen, Ford’s vice president of labor affairs. The proposed contract will cover 55,000 hourly Ford autoworkers in the United States.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Ford and the UAW agreed to focus on issues related to job security, health and safety, attendance and time off, seniority, pension and a 401(k)-like retirement program, continuous improvements and joint programs. Other details of the proposed contract were not disclosed. Gamble said in his statement, “Out of respect for our members, we will refrain from commenting or releasing full details of the agreement until the UAW-Ford Council leaders meet and review the details.”
Ford union local leaders said they’ve been told to prepare for a UAW National Ford Council meeting in Dearborn later this week. The council members will review the deal, then vote on sending it to members for ratification. Ratification requires the approval of 50 percent of the total members plus one.
Ratification is not a typical election process. Each local UAW holds informational meetings at its choosing and the local UAW election committees select the voting day and times. The committees are responsible for tallying the paper ballots and submitting the results to UAW headquarters in Detroit. There’s no overall audit of the vote. The Ford contract is probably at least a week away from being approved or rejected by the union members.
The negotiating teams achieved agreement rapidly, avoiding the conflicts the union had negotiating its new contract with General Motors. Those negotiations resulted in GM workers going on strike for six weeks. If the Ford deal is ratified, the UAW would turn its attention to Fiat Chrysler next. It is last of the Detroit automakers the union needs to negotiate with for 2019.