Official: UAW ratified a new four-year contract with Ford

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 19, 2011

UAW-represented workers at Ford ratified a new four-year contract with the American manufacturer. 63% of the members voted in favor of the contract according to UAW, after early results from the vote showed some opposition to the contract. Apparently, the votes were strongly in favor after UAW leaders said that they would consider striking Ford if voters didn't approve the deal.

As a result Ford announced that it will add 12,000 hourly jobs in its U.S. manufacturing facilities by 2015, including in-sourcing from Mexico, China and Japan.

Furthermore, $16 billion will be invested by Ford in its U.S. operations (including $6.2 billion in U.S. plants) in order to design, engineer and produce more new and upgraded vehicles as well as components by 2015. Moreover, production shifts are planned to be added at four plants in the United States: Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.; Chicago Assembly Plant; Louisville Assembly Plant; and Auto Alliance International in Flat Rock, Mich.

Additional shifts will account for nearly 5,000 of the 12,000 total jobs. In addition, new products will arrive in the U.S. plants and Ford will move production of the Ford F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks from Escobedo, Mexico, to its Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio after these plants will stop the production of the E-Series van. Ford will also bring the F53 motor home chassis and F59 commercial stripped chassis production in-house, and $128 million will be invested in the Ohio facility.

Popularly known as the United Automobile Workers (UAW), the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America is a labor union representing workers in the United States as well as in Puerto Rico and Canada. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, the UAW was established in the 1930s as part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). It experienced a rapid growth between 1936 and the 1950s.

During the tenure of Walter Reuther, who was president from 1946 to 1970, the UAW played a crucial role in the liberal wing of the Democratic party, including the anti-Communist and civil rights movements. While the UAW was vaunted to being able to secure high wages and pensions for the auto workers, it has failed to unionize production facilities owned by foreign carmakers in the South after the 1970s.

In fact, since then, the UAW has been suffering from a steady drop in membership, no thanks to certain factors like increased globalization and automation and declining use of labor, as well as movements of manufacturing, including reaction to NAFTA.

Currently, its membership spans across several industries aside from auto and auto parts. It also has members in the casino gambling, health care and higher education industries. The UAW currently has around 390,000 active members and over 600,000 retired members in 750 local unions, which has negotiated around 2,500 contracts with around 1,700 employers.

Topics: uaw, united states

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