UAW’s King, Obama Eat Cake While Ford Workers Vote ‘No’ On Contract.
While Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Alan Mulally and United Auto Workers President Bob King attended Thursday night’s state dinner in honor of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and dined on Texas waygu beef, butternut squash bisque and chocolate malt devil’s food layer cake with pear and almond brittle, UAW workers continued to resist ratification of the Ford-UAW contract.
While King sat at the head table with President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for the dinner, roughly half of all Ford workers that having voted so far have rejected the automaker’s proposed contract with the UAW — and unionized employees at two plants have so far voted it down outright.
In early voting, 54.6% of Ford’s 41,000 UAW workers have so far voted to reject a four-year tentative agreement with the automaker that that would provide them with about $10,000 this year from a signing bonus, an early profit-sharing payment and a quality bonus.
Workers at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant voted to reject the contract, joining those at Ford’s Wayne, Mich. assembly plant. Workers at Ford’s Sterling Axle Plant voted in favor of the deal.
Here are how the plants stacked up:
Chicago Assembly. At the plant where the Explorer and Taurus are made, 76.7% of the workers voted against the agreement, according to UAW Local 551’s Facebook page. Apparently, objection focuses on the wage tier system. Under the proposed contract, several hundred temporary employees working at the Chicago plant would become permanent, entry-level workers. “But their wages and their benefits are still left staggeringly behind,” said Scott Houldieson, financial secretary for UAW Local 551. Over the life of the contract, hourly wages for entry-level workers would increase from about $15.50 per hour to $19.28 per hour. But Houldieson said the contract still maintains two classes of employees — entry-level workers and traditional employees who make about $28 per hour.
Sterling Heights, Mich., Axle. There, 66.4% of production workers voted yes and 64.5% of skilled-trades workers voted yes, according to UAW Local 228, which represents those workers. There are 1,740 hourly workers at that plant, according to Ford’s Web site.
Wayne Assembly. Workers narrowly voted to reject the contract with 51.5% voting no. Despite the promised bonuses, Houldieson said many workers were expecting to regain concessions given up in 2009.
Also, many Ford workers remain upset about the company’s decision to restore merit pay raises to salaried workers in 2010 and the total compensation paid to Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally, whose package totaled $26.5 million in 2010.
“The Wayne vote was very close, but we expect that in other parts of the country that it will be warmly supported,” UAW President Bob King said Tuesday. Really, Bob? As worm as the chocolate malt devil’s food layered cake? Sourced from USA Today and The Detroit News.