DETROIT - UAW leaders approved a deal struck with Ford Friday afternoon, sending it to union members to ratify the deal next week.
The deal includes an investment from the automaker of more than $6 billion in manufacturing across the U.S. and maintaining or opening 8,500 more jobs in the country. The deal also includes a bonus of $9,000 for full-time workers and a $3,500 bonus for temporary workers.
“This contract provides over $6 Billion in new product investment creating and retaining over 8,500 jobs. We are proud that UAW-Ford members through this contract will continue to be the largest U.S. auto workforce and build the most products here at home,” said Rory Gamble, UAW Vice President and Director of the UAW-Ford Department. “This contract reflects the hard work, sacrifice and quality work of UAW members as they lead the U.S. auto industry.”
Ford is the largest employer of UAW workers among the big three automakers in Detroit. Those 55,000 rank-and-file members are expected to complete voting on the plan as early as next Friday.
The deal also includes wage increases, new discount costs for retail clinics and telemedicine in the health care department and a path for temporary workers to reach permanent status.
The deal's optics weren't entirely great, however. News broke Thursday that Ford would be closing the Romeo engine plant, and the 600 workers there would be transferred to the Van Dyke transmission plan about 15 minutes away. It's the only plant to be closed in the near-future.
"It is unfortunate. We at the UAW do not like any closures and try to bargain away from those closures, but it is unfortunate one closure will be Romeo Engine," said a UAW Rep. Brian Rothenberg. "We have bargained because of the situation with the company on this to get a pattern package similar to what GM got for Lordstown and Warren Tech and others."
If approved, the UAW would next turn its focus to Fiat-Chrysler.