DEARBORN, Mich. — Negotiators for Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers agreed today to a three-year contract giving greater job protection and pay increases to 104,000 U.S. auto workers, the UAW said.
The contract must be approved by local leaders and the union rank and file before going into effect.
UAW President Owen Bieber said in a written statement that the new job security program will "lock in current job levels at units in all locations and will prevent layoffs for virtually any reason except carefully defined volume reductions linked to market conditions."
Stanley Surma, Ford executive director of labor relations, said both the company and the union entered the negotiations with job security and the health of the company in mind.
'Meeting of the Minds'
"The goals were the same, but we began with somewhat differing viewpoints as to the means of achieving them," he said. "These past few weeks, and especially these past few days, have seen a meeting of the minds in reaching these two goals."
The tentative pact provides a 3% wage increase this year and lump sum bonus payments of 3% in the second and third years, the union said. The current cost-of-living formula would be retained and pensions, health care and other insurance would be upgraded, the statement said.
The tentative agreement, to be presented to the union's National Ford Bargaining Council on Friday, also includes improvements in health and safety and other jointly administered programs.
Ford, GM Contracts Extended
Meetings to give UAW locals information about the pact and an opportunity to ratify it will be scheduled after the bargaining council meeting in Dearborn.
The talks then go to General Motors Corp. Both contracts had been extended after they expired at 11:59 p.m. Monday.
Bieber's absence from the Dearborn talks with Ford was kept secret for nearly 24 hours after he was hospitalized in Detroit Tuesday night for stomach pains and fatigue.
Bieber, 57, was listed in good condition today at Henry Ford Hospital, where coincidentally former company President Henry Ford II has been hospitalized in intensive care for pneumonia.