United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger, right, and Bob King, UAW vice president, left, address the media in Detroit, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009 after the union reached a tentative deal with the Ford Motor Co. on contract changes.
Despite the glimmer of hope provided by the CAW’s acceptance of similar modifications over the weekend, the UAW hasn’t proven nearly as accommodating of the concessions Ford has requested to its labor agreement. The new initiatives, which were approved by an 83% vote in Canada, were largely aimed at reducing labor costs and, ipso facto, the necessity of layoffs. Under the new plan, employees would have seen a reduction in paid vacation time, a widespread wage freeze, and restrictions on their rights to strike. Thereby freed of a significant amount of the financial burden currently weighing them down, Ford promised growth and a corresponding increase in job security.
Unfortunately, the UAW proved unwilling to part with their notoriously generous benefits and rejected the new deal in a 75% opposing vote. Ford is justifiably unhappy with the decision.
“We appreciate the UAW leadership for working with us to reach a tentative agreement on further modifications to our national labor agreement. Ford is disappointed that the additional changes were not ratified,” said Joe Hinrichs, group vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs, Ford Motor Company in a statement.
Continued Hinrichs, “All of us at Ford are absolutely committed to continuing to make progress on our transformation plan, and we will take the necessary steps to be competitive with the best in the business. Moving forward, we will work with the UAW to discuss the next steps to ensure Ford remains competitive so we can continue to make product commitments and invest in our manufacturing facilities here in the United States.”
Image Cred: AP Photo