UAW, Ford OK tentative contract; Negotiations last 30 hours; workers await details


DEARBORN, Mich. -- After round-the-clock negotiations lasting nearly 30 hours, the United Auto Workers union reached a tentative agreement yesterday with Ford Motor Co. on a new contract for its 101,000 unionized workers.

"The UAW has reached a tentative agreement with Ford on a new contract covering hourly workers at Ford facilities in the United States," the union and the company said in a joint statement. The union and the company declined to discuss details until union officials have a chance to discuss the contract with workers.

Ford's unionized workers would get annual raises of 3 percent on top of increases that nearly compensate for inflation. In addition, they would get a $1,350 signing bonus and sweetened pension benefits.

Unionized workers were awaiting details of the contract but were pleased that a threatened strike at midnight Friday did not materialize.

Scattered strikes occurred on shifts after the midnight deadline, but workers returned to all plants later yesterday.

Workers are expected to ratify the contract later this month.

The union had threatened to strike to show dissatisfaction with Ford's plan to spin off its giant Visteon Automotive Systems unit to shareholders.

Nearly a quarter of Ford's unionized employees work in Visteon factories, and they feared that their jobs and pensions would be less secure if Visteon were an independent company.

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