UAW, Ford Approve 2015 Contract As Workers Discuss Details

The UAW and Ford have reached a tentative contract, which includes more investment and a priority on job creation. Now it’s up to the workers to approve the details.

This is the third contract agreement the UAW has reached with automakers this year. In a recent Inquisitr report, the UAW and GM reached an agreement last month, while another contract with Fiat Chrysler was ultimately ratified.

The Detroit Free Press released some details of the UAW-Ford 2015 contract. The new four-year agreement calls for Ford to invest $9 billion in several U.S. manufacturing plants while retaining or creating 8,500 jobs.

Ford will also pay $10,000 in signing and other bonuses, raise salaries, increase profit sharing, whereas entry-level employees will achieve faster advancement towards the traditional wage scale.

Ford has also agreed to add 1,200 skilled trade apprentices, while temporary workers will be paid up to $22.50 per hour. Other contract benefits include an improved health care plan and more money for retirees.

UAW Ford reach agreement in 2015.
Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president, is happy with the USW-Ford deal. [Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images]

UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles is thrilled with how the negotiations turned out.

“To me, this contract has real job security. When they invest in plants, plants stay open.”

Much of the initial contract negotiations focused on job retention and creation. As part of the final agreement, Ford will keep two plants open that were originally planned for closure, while Ford gets to decide on what cars to make and where.

The Michigan Assembly Plant currently produces the Focus and C-Max family of vehicles. However, the automaker previously announced they are discontinuing the models by 2018.

This creates an opportunity for Ford to bring back the Ranger mid-size pickup and Bronco SUV, two vehicles customers have been demanding. Ford intends to start producing the two vehicles at the Michigan plant within the next five years.

The Chicago Assembly plant will be getting a new product, as well. As the Taurus is phased out, the Chicago plant will take on production of the Lincoln MKC. Although the Louisville Assembly plant currently makes the MKC, Ford says no jobs will be lost because of the shift. The Ohio Assembly Plant will also get a new product yet to be announced.

Ford UAW settle on contract details.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]

The UAW-Ford contract will keep the stamping plant in Woodhaven, Michigan, open, thereby saving 71 employees from losing their job. Ford is spending $300 million on equipment conversions and upgrades at the plant.

Furthermore, Ford will be spending $3.35 billion on the development of new transmission technology at its engine and transmission plants.

Now that the UAW-Ford contract details have been hammered out, it’s up to the local Ford units to hold informational meetings and ratification votes. Local union leaders are currently setting up a voting schedule.

Settles expressed confidence the new deal will be approved.

“I think good people, given the proper information and the proper facts, will make the right decision. I know everybody wants everything back that they gave up. But I think when people look at it, they see that when that happens, we lose jobs.”

Should the 2015 agreement be endorsed, 353 employees will receive an immediate raise in pay. This brings the total number of workers to reach the top of the wage scale since the beginning of the year to 1,300.

According to Settles, everyone who was hired after October 23, 2011, will be earning the top wage as long as the contract is ratified.

UAW President Dennis Williams, along with Settles, met with Ford elected leaders at the UAW-Ford National Program Center in Detroit on Monday to discuss the 2015 agreement details. The national council quickly approved the deal.

UAW President discusses details of the 2015 Ford contract.
United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams. [Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]

Yet, many workers are still not happy with UAW-Ford contract. Comments on social media say Ford isn’t giving enough. However, others say the union got everything it could.

In a report from the Wall Street Journal, workers will be carefully scrutinizing the details of the UAW-Ford deal. This past summer, Ford announced that some small-car production will be moved from Michigan to a plant in Mexico. Employees will be looking for some reassurance Ford will, indeed, be creating jobs as promised.

Now the contract goes to the union’s 52,900 Ford members for a vote, and the outcome will be known sometime next week. In the meantime, the details of the contract will be discussed as well as debated by workers and union officials.

[Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images]