UAW rank-and-file reject Ford contract

posted at 1:40 pm on November 1, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Do I detect a bit of payback in this story?  The UAW rank-and-file rejected a renegotiated contract from Ford intended to bring themselves into parity with GM and Chrysler, as has long been the practice for the Detroit automakers.  In doing so, the workers also rejected the counsel of their own union, which had endorsed the new contract.  Ford will have to operate at a disadvantage for the next two years in terms of compensation as a result:

Ford Motor Co. workers have overwhelmingly rejected contract changes that would have allowed the automaker to cut labor costs, leaving Ford at a disadvantage to its Detroit rivals as it continues its struggle to return to profitability.

The United Auto Workers union had given local unions until Monday to complete voting. But a person briefed on the voting said Saturday that the contract changes have been rejected by large margins. The person asked not to be named because the UAW hasn’t announced the results yet.

The UAW and Ford agreed to the contract changes several weeks ago, but Ford workers needed to ratify them. Ford has 41,000 UAW-represented workers.

Two large union locals in Kentucky and Ford’s home city of Dearborn rejected the contract Friday, sealing its fate. Those unions together represent 13,000 Ford workers. Exact tallies weren’t available, but at least 12 UAW locals representing about 27,500 workers so far have vetoed the deal, many overwhelmingly. Only about four locals with a total of 7,000 members favored the pact.

The national UAW position makes this a little more intriguing.  Reader Geoff A thinks that this has been a Kabuki dance all along, and that the UAW approval of the contract was just a wink to the workers, giving the rejection a veneer of authentic grass-roots reaction.  However, the UAW didn’t have to agree to renegotiate in the first place.  Ford’s contract runs through 2011, and will remain in effect after this vote.

The UAW has used its leverage in Detroit to ensure parity between manufacturers, which is why Ford wanted to come back to the table.  The unions had to give concessions during the bailouts in order to gain big chunks of GM and Chrysler, which didn’t happen with Ford.  If Ford has a competitive cost problem with its compensation, it also has at least a little bit of a competitive labor advantage, although that hardly balances out or works in Ford’s favor.

Why did workers reject the pact?  In part, they didn’t see much from management in contributions:

Rocky Comito, president of UAW Local 862 in Louisville, said Friday that workers felt they were being asked to sacrifice more than the company’s executives. Ford CEO Alan Mulally made $17.7 million last year, although that was down 22 percent from the year before.

“Some want to see management give more at the upper level,” Comito said.

Nevertheless, the rejection will almost certainly mean more cutbacks at Ford, especially if the economy doesn’t ramp up.  This could be a very public example of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Let me get this straight. The unions own Ford’s competitors. The unions are trying to make Ford less competitive. Doesn’t quite seem fair, does it? Wonder what court will hear the case?

aritai on November 2, 2009 at 1:06 PM

FORD MUST BE DESTROYED………plain and simple.

The UAW must take them down…….and they have the Fed Gov to do it now.

Pity Ford.

PappyD61 on November 2, 2009 at 2:07 PM

The unions will do anything they can to help Ford.

Help it fail, I mean.

hawksruleva on November 2, 2009 at 2:55 PM

http://www.milmi.org/

Michigan unemployment is 15.3% for September. Wayne County (where Detroit is located) is higher. I personally know alot of people here in Michigan who would love those union jobs at half of what those union employees are getting paid.

greengarnet on November 2, 2009 at 3:30 PM

What Ford needs to do is give them the finger and let them go suck up to obamamotors.

Then go hire people that are not union and give a hoot about having a job. They could retool in 24 hours.

workingforpigs on November 2, 2009 at 7:37 PM

Rejected a contract… well say goodbye.

workingforpigs on November 2, 2009 at 7:38 PM

What Ford needs to do is give them the finger and let them go suck up to obamamotors.

Then go hire people that are not union and give a hoot about having a job. They could retool in 24 hours.

workingforpigs on November 2, 2009 at 7:37 PM

What is wrong with you people? You’re all f’g nuts.

If you haven’t had a job lately and can’t relate to a factory worker then put yourself in the production exec’s chair. The company just made $1 Billion profit and your bosses chose now to squeeze your crew for concessions to match the guys at your competitors who, even with the lower costs, still suck!

If you’ve got a brain you’ll be in the vp’s face telling him he’s an arrogant fool! Negotiate a stable extension for 4 years or so and get back to work kicking GM & Chrysler’s ass.

These factories have peeled off tens of thousands of workers. I used to be a union contractor. The best thing about bad times is you get to can all the dead weight. The crew they’re running with now are the best they can get. That’s another reason why they aren’t going to sign. Good craftsmen know they’re worth it. They won’t eat shit for nobody. Don’t ask them.

Most of the comments here sound like they’re coming from spoiled college brats.

rcl on November 3, 2009 at 12:40 AM

It’s greed, pure and simple.
Ford has made some profit, and is on relatively stable footing compared to the other U.S. automakers, which has emboldened the Union to push back hard. Unfortunately, and as usual, this is just another example of Union greed. I also agree with the Union’s position regarding executive pay, I mean, come on, $17 MILLION??? For ONE year of “work”???
Look at places like GM, the thread industry, Pratt & Whitney and on and on.
If you would have asked me 20 years ago, will foreign auto makers be successful here in the United States, I would have openly laughed at the suggestion.

Keep being greedy folks, and keep watching our American skilled labor get outsourced.

KMC1 on November 3, 2009 at 8:00 AM

If you haven’t had a job lately and can’t relate to a factory worker then put yourself in the production exec’s chair. The company just made $1 Billion profit and your bosses chose now to squeeze your crew for concessions to match the guys at your competitors who, even with the lower costs, still suck!

rcl on November 3, 2009 at 12:40 AM

For UAW parasites (proven parasites, by what they did to GM and Chrysler) $1-billion is just chump change. But to Ford, it’s the seed corn.

RBMN on November 3, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Keep being greedy folks, and keep watching our American skilled labor get outsourced.

KMC1 on November 3, 2009 at 8:00 AM

The UAW has done much more to ruin the American auto industry (and help the foreign auto industry) than any American auto executive ever has. Building bad products is self-correcting. Having greedy unions dragging you down is not self-correcting. It just gets worse and worse, until the company can’t compete and goes under.

RBMN on November 3, 2009 at 10:57 AM

They should shut down or whatever it takes to get rid of the UAW from their business. Train an entirely new workforce if necessary. If they don’t do something that drastic they are looking at a bleak future which will probably lead to the destruction of the company in time.

cjk on November 3, 2009 at 11:09 AM

rcl on November 3, 2009 at 12:40 AM

Must be a union boss or something!
Anybody with half a brain can see the UAW is out of control and crazy with greed and envy.

cjk on November 3, 2009 at 11:13 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3