November 20, 2015 / 8:16 PM / 3 years ago

GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler labor costs rise in new pacts: study

The GM logo is seen at the General Motors Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan October 26, 2015. Photo taken October 26. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook -

DETROIT (Reuters) - Hourly labor costs will rise to an average of $60 per auto worker by 2019 if proposed contracts at General Motors Co (GM.N) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) are ratified by rank-and-file members of the United Auto Workers union, a study released on Friday said.

Hourly wages account for slightly less than half of total labor costs for UAW workers, which include healthcare and other benefits.

Ford’s current labor costs average $57 per hour and GM’s average $55 per hour, according to the study by labor analysts Kristin Dziczek of the Center of Automotive Research and Arthur Schwartz, a private consultant.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCHA.MI) (FCAU.N) costs will rise to $56 per hour by 2019, up from $47 per hour before its workers ratified a new four-year contract that went into effect last month.

The rise of labor costs at Fiat Chrysler was the most among the Detroit Three automakers, and narrowed the cost advantage the company still maintains over GM and Ford, the study found.

Ford’s UAW members will continue voting whether to ratify a proposed four-year contract until Friday evening. On Wednesday, UAW leaders said that with three-fourths of the vote counted, 52 percent of workers were against the new pact. That was before a big auto plant in Chicago voted 68 percent against the contract.

GM’s four-year contract was approved for ratification by 55 percent of UAW members voting but skilled trades workers turned it down, delaying ratification.

The UAW’s top leaders were meeting on Friday afternoon and were expected to approve the new GM contract for ratification, people familiar with the matter said.

Hourly labor costs are lower for most of the foreign automakers with U.S. plants, which puts a lid on wages and benefits of the Detroit Three automakers. At Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), per hour labor costs are $48 per hour, and they are $49 per hour at Honda Motor Co (7267.T) and $42 per hour at Nissan Motor Co 7201., according to the Center for Automotive Research.

Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Tom Brown

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