U.S.A.:UAW ratifies deals with Ford, Visteon
Reuters / September 30, 2003
DETROIT (Reuters) -- The United Auto Workers union said on Tuesday its members had ratified new four-year contracts with Ford Motor Co. and Visteon Corp. that allow Ford to close four plants employing nearly 4,600 people.
The new UAW contracts cover more than 72,000 workers at Ford and more than 21,000 workers at Visteon, as well as more than 77,000 retirees and 24,000 surviving spouses.
The contracts follow the economic terms set in the UAW's contract with DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler arm, giving hourly workers a $3,000 signing bonus, a performance bonus in the second year, a 2 percent raise in the third year and a 3 percent raise in the fourth year.
The deals also pave the way for Ford to close two assembly plants in Ohio and New Jersey, and two parts plants in Michigan and Ohio. Ford also has the option of closing or selling a third parts plant.
Workers in the affected plants will "retain full job income and security protections," including a right to transfer to open jobs in other Ford plants, the union said in a statement.
The UAW said the deal requires Ford to give first preference on new business to Visteon, which has struggled since its spinoff from Ford in 2000, and to send enough work to Visteon to support UAW members there.
In return, Visteon won the right to pay new hires at a lower rate than under previous union contracts. Wages for Visteon UAW workers typically run about $25 a hour, while many U.S. parts suppliers pay roughly $16 a hour for unionized workers, with workers in Mexico paid far less.
The UAW did not disclose what percentage of its members voted to approve the deals.
Union workers are not the only ones losing work at Ford, as the world's second-largest automaker faces pressure to meet its financial targets this year while dealing with falling prices in the United States and losses in Europe.
A company source said on Tuesday that Ford plans to cut about 1,500 contract workers and about 50 salaried employees in North America as it attempts to reduce salaried employee costs by 10 percent before the end of the year.
In addition to the contract worker cuts, Ford will also eliminate some open jobs and has reduced overtime payments for some salaried employees.
Ford was expected to announce the cuts to the affected salaried employees on Tuesday. Its German arm said on Monday it would offer voluntary early retirement to about 700 salaried employees.
My first car was a 67 Mustang Coupe, 2nd one was a 67 Cougar XR-7, 3rd one was a 66 Mustang Coupe. Why did I get rid of these cars for ? I know why, because I'm stupid, stupid, stupid.
My next Ford.....