UAW and Ford Tentatively Shake Hands

By Jason Davis | October 19, 2011
The United Auto Workers union is on a roll, successfully hammering out deals with two of Detroit's Big Three in successive order just weeks ago. The votes are now shuffling in for Ford, and it's lookin' good: so far, 22,031 to 12,957 are in favor of the agreement. After early opposition to the deal, the numbers mathematically suggest that ratification is imminent. Ford will bring $6.2 billion in factory upgrades, plus bonus and profit-sharing payments of as much as $10,000, and new jobs. It won’t give raises to senior workers or restore cost-of-living pay increases workers previously gave up. “As the nation’s economy remains stalled and uncertain and its employment rate stagnates, we were able to win an agreement with Ford that will bring auto manufacturing jobs back to the United States from China, Mexico and Japan,” UAW President Bob King said in a statement. “The American auto industry is on its way back.”
While the measure will most importantly create 12,000 new jobs, it could additionally spur Ford's credit rating upward toward investment grade. "That's the hidden dimension here," said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California-Berkeley, noting that returning to investment grade will make Ford more competitive and likely to invest in the United States. “This agreement is proof that by working together with our UAW partners and local communities, we can significantly create new jobs, invest in our plants and people, and make a very positive impact on the U.S. economy,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of the Americas. Source: Ford, Bloomberg News, The Detroit News