Ford Workers Approve Contract despite Being Unhappy

October 20 00:00 2011

New York, October 20 ( – Leaders of United Automobile Workers were ultimately successful in convincing workers at the Ford Motor Company that the four-year labor agreement that they had negotiated with the management would be beneficial for them by way of hefty bonuses and thousands of new jobs in an uncertain economy. Although the workers showed that they were not happy with the contract, they relented when the UAW leaders warned that other options like a strike or lockout would certainly be much worse.

The UAW said Wednesday that the contract was accepted by the workers with 63 percent voting in favor of it and 37 percent voting against it. As a result of the agreement most workers will get $6,000 signing bonuses on Nov. 4, followed shortly by profit-sharing checks averaging $3,750.

Gary N. Chaison, a professor of labor relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., said “The members walked right to the very edge of a cliff, and they looked over and decided to take a step back,” and added that “It’s pretty hard nowadays for a worker to risk not getting a signing bonus and have to explain that to a spouse.”

The new contract will enable Ford to reduce its hourly labor rate by hiring thousands of new workers at lower wages to fill new positions and to replace veteran workers who were cajoled into retirement by buyouts of as much as $100,000.