DETROIT—Roughly 55,000 United Auto Workers union members at Ford Motor Co. ratified a new four-year labor contract on Nov. 15, allowing the auto maker to close a Michigan engine plant but provides for raises, thousands of new jobs and more than $6 billion in U.S. manufacturing investment.
With a Ford deal in hand, union officials can now move on to Fiat Chrysler, the last of the Detroit 3 to finalize a contract this year.
The UAW said the deal passed with a 56.3 percent margin.
"Every Ford employee and temporary employee will be at the top-rate for full-time status at the end of this four-year agreement," Acting UAW President Rory Gamble, who is Director of the UAW Ford Department, said in a statement. "This is a life changing contract for many and provides a template for all future Ford UAW members to a full-time, top-rate status. There will be no more permanent temporary situations and no more permanent tiers."
Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president, Automotive, said in a statement: "We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreement quickly with the UAW without a costly disruption to production. This deal helps Ford enhance our competitiveness and protect good-paying manufacturing jobs.
"Working with the UAW, we have added flexibility to our operations while keeping labor costs in line with projected U.S. manufacturing labor inflation costs and still rewarded our workers for their important contributions to the company."
Ford said it will take a $700 million charge in the fourth quarter related to the new agreement, mostly due to the ratification bonus.
Chicago Assembly and Lima Engine, in Ohio, were the only two plants to vote against it heading into the final day of voting. The deal was passing by a comfortable 62 percent margin earlier Friday according to Automotive News estimates.
But workers at Ford's largest local, representing more than 12,000 workers at Kentucky Truck and Louisville Assembly, late Friday rejected the pact. Roughly 67 percent workers voted against it, while 51 percent of skilled trades workers there voted for it. An exact breakdown was not immediately available.
Ford's deal largely resembled GM's in terms of broad economics, including two 3 percent raises for workers and two 4 percent lump-sum bonuses.
The first of those bonuses, worth about $2,700 for an average production worker, will be paid within weeks. Full-time Ford workers also will receive a $9,000 ratification bonus, while temporary employees will get $3,500.
The deal includes a pathway for temporary workers to become full time and shortens the time it takes for newly hired full-time workers to earn top wages.
Ford said it would create or retain 8,500 jobs over the life of the contract but did not provide a breakdown. Of the $6 billion investment, a majority goes to Ford's assembly plants. That includes $700 million at Dearborn Truck in Michigan for the next-generation F-150—including a hybrid version, a battery-electric version and a new Raptor—as well as $1.1 billion at Michigan Assembly in Wayne, Mich., and $900 million at Ohio Assembly, which will get a new undisclosed product in 2023.
The deal allows Ford to close its Romeo Engine Plant north of Detroit, but workers there will have the opportunity to move to the nearby Van Dyke Transmission Plant.