United Auto Workers approve new 4-year contract with Ford

DETROIT — Members of the United Auto Workers union at Ford Motor Co. voted Friday to approve a new contract with the company.

The union said in a statement that 56.3% of workers who voted were in favour of the deal.

The four-year agreement reached Oct. 31 gives workers a mix of pay raises and lump-sum payments as well as a $9,000 ratification bonus. The company also promises $6 billion in U.S. factory investments. Ford gets to close an engine factory near Detroit but its 600 workers there will get jobs at a nearby plant.

Acting Union President Rory Gamble called the agreement “life changing” for workers and said it eliminates perpetual temporary employees and different wage tiers for workers doing the same jobs. Ford said the deal increases its competitiveness, keeping its cost structure similar to its U.S.-based competitors. It also secures 8,500 U.S. hourly jobs.

The contract will cost Ford $700 million in the fourth quarter, mainly to pay ratification bonuses to its 55,000 hourly workers.

Union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said Friday night he did not have vote totals.

The deal is similar to one ratified by General Motors workers after a bitter 40-day strike this fall.

On Monday, the union will focus bargaining on Fiat Chrysler, the last of the Detroit Three automakers to settle.

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