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Vol. 73/No. 43      November 9, 2009

Early union vote goes
against cuts at Ford
(front page)
October 28—As we go to press, a majority of United Auto Workers (UAW) members at six plants have voted against contract concessions demanded by Ford Motor Co. and recommended favorably by union officials. So far 33 percent of the 41,000 UAW members employed by Ford have cast ballots. Voting continues through November 2.

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 it’s needed to ensure Ford’s profitability. “This is a great agreement, and it protects our membership,” he stated October 27 on Detroit’s 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 Ford’s 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 Ford’s Sterling Heights axle plant; 73 percent at Ford’s Mustang plant in Flat Rock; and 52 percent at Ford’s 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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UK postal workers strike against layoffs, speedup  
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