Ford Contract Ratified by U.A.W. Members

Ford Contract Ratified by U.A.W. Members

Union workers have approved a four-year labor contract with Ford Motor, accepting wage increases and other terms nearly identical to the agreement reached with General Motors.

The United Automobile Workers union announced Friday that the agreement had been backed by 56 percent of those voting.

The pact calls for Ford’s 55,000 union workers to receive 3 percent wage increases in the second and fourth years of the contract and 4 percent lump-sum payments in the first and third years.

Worker contributions toward health coverage are unchanged at about 3 percent of the total cost.

The union reached the same terms with G.M. last month after a strike that shut down most of the company’s operations in North America for 40 days. It was the longest nationwide strike against General Motors in 49 years. G.M. has said the strike will lower its operating profit in 2019 by about $3 billion.

The union typically tries to agree to a contract with one of the three Detroit automakers and seeks to have the other companies accept similar terms, a practice known as pattern bargaining. Now that the Ford contract has been ratified, the union will focus on negotiating with Fiat Chrysler.

Ford, like G.M., agreed to substantial wage increases for workers who have joined the payroll since 2007 on a lower pay scale than earlier hires. By the end of the contract’s four-year term, all workers will have a path to the top wage, which was raised to $32 an hour from $31.

The provision ended a two-tier system that left some employees, known as “in progression” workers, earning less for doing the same or similar work as veteran workers. The union says the system created workplace tension.

Each full-time union worker at Ford will also be paid an immediate bonus of $9,000. That is $2,000 less than the sum G.M. agreed to.

The Ford contract also has provisions enabling temporary workers to become permanent employees after three years of service. Ford agreed to limit temporary workers to no more than 8 percent of its hourly work force, and no more than 10 percent of the work force at any location.

“This is a life-changing contract for many and provides a template for all future Ford U.A.W. members to a full-time, top-rate status,” Rory Gamble, the union’s acting president and the director of its Ford department, said Friday. “There will be no more permanent temporary situations and no more permanent tiers.”

As part of the contract, Ford pledged to invest $6 billion in factories in the United States, spending that is expected to create or preserve 8,500 jobs. G.M. promised to invest $7.7 billion in domestic plants, and an additional $1.3 billion in conjunction with partners.

The contract clears the way for Ford to close an engine plant in Romeo, Mich. Workers there will be transferred to a nearby transmission plant.

The negotiations with G.M. were more contentious because it had announced it would close three plants, including a small-car factory in Lordstown, Ohio.

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