The UAW and Ford Motor Co. have reached a tentative labor agreement for the company's 41,000 U.S. workers, the two parties have jointly revealed. The union scheduled a press conference at 11:30 a.m. earlier to discuss the contract with UAW President Bob King and Jimmy Settles, who is the union's vice president for its Ford department, as speakers.
On the other hand, the automaker held a 9 a.m. press conference to "discuss the latest developments in negotiations" with John Fleming, who is executive vice president of Ford's global manufacturing and labor affairs, and Marty Mulloy, the company's vice president of labor affairs, as speakers.
The union and the company did not disclose the details of the agreement. However, analysts expect it to be similar to an earlier pact with General Motors. Also, it is unclear whether or not, or how much, the automaker has sweetened the economic terms in order to obtain ratification from the restless Ford workers. Just like GM, Ford is expected to commit to retaining and adding thousands of factory jobs as part of new plant investments and product programs.
The Detroit News, without citing sources, reported that Ford will add or retain 12,000 jobs under the agreement, including the 7,000 jobs previously announced.
The automaker entered into the discussions in the hope of reducing labor costs, which are the highest in the industry. It also aimed to gain more parity with Chrysler Group and GM. The Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., forecasts that Ford's average hourly labor costs, including wages and benefits, to be $58 in 2010, versus $49 at Chrysler and $56 at GM.