The contract covers about 54,000 active workers at Ford and more than 94,000 retirees and 28,000 surviving spouses, the UAW said. It will expire September 14, 2011.
This was by far the most overwhelming approval among the Detroit 3 contracts. GM workers approved their contract by about a 2-to-1 margin. Chrysler workers narrowly approved their pact with only 56 percent in favor, with very little support from assembly plant workers.
At Ford, 81 percent of UAW production workers voted in favor of the pact, and 71 percent of skilled-trades workers voted yes. Overall, 79 percent of UAW Ford members voted in favor of the contract, the UAW said.
The Ford contract contains two key provisions that will help Ford’s balance sheet.
Ford will be able to hire new hourly employees at a lower second-tier wage starting at $14.20 per hour, and up to 20 percent of the total hourly work force can consist of such second-tier workers.
And Ford, like GM and Chrysler, agreed to establish a voluntary employee beneficiary association, or VEBA, to handle retiree health care coverage after 2010.
In return, Ford made guarantees to keep certain plants open, including six plants that were in danger of closing.