Gary Jones, president UAW International, (left) and Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor, shake hands on July 15, 2019 at Ford World Headquarters to begin negotiations for a new contract.
DETROIT – Members of the United Auto Workers have approved a new four-year deal with Ford Motor, the union announced Friday night.
The contract was supported by 56.3% of Ford members who voted, according to the UAW.
The deal requires Ford to invest more than $6 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations and create or retain 8,500 U.S. jobs, while also allowing the automaker to close an engine plant in Michigan.
The company also agreed to pay $9,000 ratification bonuses for full-time workers and $3,500 ratification bonuses for temporary employees.
Acting UAW President Rory Gamble, who oversees the union’s Ford workers, called the deal “a life changing contract for many” of the automaker’s roughly 55,000 rank-and-file members.
“Ford’s commitment to job security and assembly in the United States is a model for American manufacturers,” Gamble said in a release Friday night.
Gamble took over responsibilities of the union following UAW President Gary Jones taking a leave of absence on Nov. 3, days after being implicated in a federal corruption investigation into the union. Jones, whose Michigan home was raided by federal agents in August, has not been charged by federal prosecutors.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of Automotive, said the company is “pleased” that it was able to reach an “agreement quickly with the UAW without a costly disruption to production.”
“This deal helps Ford enhance our competitiveness and protect good-paying manufacturing jobs,” he said in a release.
Ford’s deal follows the union ratifying a deal with General Motors following a 40-day strike that is expected to cost the automaker up to $4 billion in adjusted earnings before interest and taxes in 2019.
Ford’s deal mirrored GM’s agreement, which included 3% raises or 4% lump-sum bonuses each year of the contract, keeping out-of-pocket health-care costs at roughly 3% and a path for temporary workers to become full-time employees.
The union will now turn its attention to Fiat Chrysler, the last of the Detroit automakers the union needs to negotiate with for 2019.
The UAW’s discussions with Fiat Chrysler are expected to be more contentious than those with Ford amid a federal probe into union corruption that started with the Italian-American automaker. There’s also uncertainty about the company’s future amid a planned merger with French automaker PSA Group.