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UAW ratifies Ford labor agreement in undramatic fashion

Unlike the UAW's negotiations with General Motors, Ford was a seemingly a walk in the park.

UAW Ford labor negotiations
Another deal done.

Unlike the fireworks show that became the the UAW-General Motors labor negotiations, the auto union and Ford came to an agreement in speedy and undramatic fashion. After hashing out a tentative agreement earlier this month, the UAW voted to ratify the agreement this past Friday by 56.3%. A simple majority is all that's required to ratify a labor agreement.

Acting UAW President Rory Gamble called it a victory for all Ford workers. "This is a life-changing contract for many and provides a template for all future Ford UAW members to a full-time, top-rate status. There will be no more permanent temporary situations and no more permanent tiers."

Every current full-time and temporary worker will be at the top-rate, full-time status by the end of this four-year agreement. Full-time workers receive a $9,000 ratification bonus and temporary workers will get $3,500. Additionally, there will be two annual pay raises of 3% and two lump sum payments will increase by 4%.

Healthcare costs will go unchanged as well, another major victory for the union.

This is a give and take kind of situation, and Ford still gets a few wins of its own. The ratified deal gives Ford full authority to close the Romeo engine plant in Michigan, which will see 600 jobs lost from the area, but moved elsewhere. The automaker said this move will help it better utilize its powertrain factory capacity. There's also the ability to increase the use of temporary workers and a new retirement platform to keep labor costs in check. Finally, there are no increased payments to worker pensions.

In the grand scheme of things, Ford said this new contract will also see $6 billion invested in US plants. That lofty figure will create or retain 8,500 jobs. The automaker did not break out where any of the investment is planned yet, however, nor did it key us into what it has planned for the near future product wise. GM, in contrast, teased electric pickup truck production at the start of its labor discussions with the UAW.

With both GM and Ford completed, bargaining begins today with Fiat Chrysler. While the negotiation were likely to go without hiccups, the automaker's proposed merger with France's PSA Group may complicate matters.

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