This is the third round of concessions demanded by Ford in the last two years. Ford workers are being asked to accept similar concessions that UAW members at General Motors and Chrysler approved this past spring, right before both GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. Ford bosses insist that they must have these changes to remain competitive.
A council of UAW officials approved the agreement October 13. UAW president Ron Gettelfinger is urging workers to vote for the new pact, arguing that its needed to ensure Fords profitability. This is a great agreement, and it protects our membership, he stated October 27 on Detroits WJR-AM radio station.
The tentative agreement reached between Ford and UAW officials would freeze wages for entry-level workers, bar the union from striking over wages and benefits until 2012, and alter work rules so that employees would be required to perform a wider range of tasks, reported the Washington Post. In return, Ford bosses say they will give hourly workers a $1,000 bonus in March and promises additional work for some plants.
At Fords largest assembly plant in Kansas City, Missouri, where 4,000 workers build pickup trucks and small sport utility vehicles, 92 percent voted against the concessions, according to the UAW Local 249 Web site.
Workers at five plants in Michigan have also voted it down. This includes 80 percent of the 2,000 UAW Local 228 members at Fords Sterling Heights axle plant; 73 percent at Fords Mustang plant in Flat Rock; and 52 percent at Fords Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti. As of today, a majority of workers at four other plants have approved the contract.
About 40 percent of production workers at Ford voted against contract givebacks that went into effect earlier this year.
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