November 20, 2015
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
United Auto Workers Local 551 members at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant voted against a proposed contract by a more than 2–1 margin on Nov. 17. With about three-fourths of the ballots counted, about 52% of union members at Ford had voted to reject the deal.
Voting will end Nov. 20, and UAW leadership hopes that Local 600 in Dearborn, Michigan, which represents more than 8,000 workers, will support the contract by a big enough margin to ratify it. The four-year agreement would give all workers raises, as well as $10,000 in signing bonuses and an early profit-sharing payment, but second-tier workers would have to wait for up to eight years to reach the same pay as workers hired before 2007.
About 43% of the Chicago plant's 4,079 workers are second-tier. On Nov. 18, UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles warned that if the deal is rejected, Ford might rescind promises to add 8,500 jobs and invest $9 billion in U.S. plants over the next four years. “The irony of negotiations is when you go back to the table, everything’s off the table,” he said. Read more