* Total vote now 57 pct in favor of proposed pact
* Biggest local votes 62 pct in favor of contract
* UAW lobbying efforts seen paying off
By Bernie Woodall
DETROIT, Oct 16 The United Auto Workers'
tentative contract with the Ford Motor Co looked well on
its way to ratification on Sunday, after the biggest local
union pushed the overall vote in favor of the new deal to 57
With well over half of the votes cast, "yes" votes on the
new contract total 11,666 with 8,746 against ratification,
according to a union online posting.
The biggest local union -- UAW Local 600 based in Dearborn,
Michigan, where Ford is also headquartered -- voted 3,255 to
2,027, or about 62 percent, in favor of the new four-year
contract, another online posting by the UAW Ford Department
Local 600, which includes workers at the Dearborn Truck
Plant where the company's successful F-Series pickup truck is
made, accounts for about 14 percent of all of Ford's unionized
After returns last week ran against the contract at three
large Ford plants, the tide has been reversed, in part by
intense lobbying by UAW leaders who told workers it was the
best deal possible in difficult economic times, local plant
Scott Houldieson, a secretary-treasurer of UAW Local 551
where the Chicago Assembly Plant workers voted 77 percent
against the contract last week, said the union's attention
should now turn toward achieving a satisfactory settlement of a
grievance against Ford.
That grievance, signed by the overwhelming majority of
Ford's 41,000 hourly workers, complains that the U.S. No. 2
automaker gave pay raises to salaried workers but not to hourly
This week, Chrysler Group LLC's 26,000 UAW-represented
workers vote on a proposed contract agreed to last Wednesday by
UAW and company negotiators. Chrysler is managed by its
majority owner, Italy's Fiat SpA .
Chrysler's workers are guaranteed much less, including a
signing bonus of $1,750.
Ford workers vote on the proposed pact until Tuesday with
full results expected on Wednesday.
Veteran Ford auto plant workers make $28.12 per hour, and
will see no increase in base pay. They have not received a base
pay raise since 2003. Skilled trades workers make several
dollars more per hour.
Wages for new hires, currently about $15.50 per hour at
Ford, would rise to $19.28 per hour over the life of the
Most Ford workers are guaranteed bonuses of at least
$16,000 over the life of the contract, including a $6,000
That is more generous than the deal General Motors Co workers ratified by nearly a 2-to-1 count in late
GM has about 48,500 unionized workers.