Ford contract is cruising
Big UAW locals at Wayne, Louisville ratify it as vote nears end
November 12, 2007
BY SARAH A. WEBSTER
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
Two large UAW locals, in Louisville, Ky., and Wayne, passed the tentative 4-year labor contract with Ford Motor Co. by an overwhelming majority, officials reported Sunday night, lending momentum toward a swift ratification.
And at Ford's axle plant in Sterling Heights, 91% of workers who voted accepted the contract, Jeff Terry, president of Local 228, told Bloomberg News.
In all, locals representing more than 17,000 of 54,000 rank-and-file workers at several large Ford factories, including the one near Kansas City, Mo., cast their ballots Sunday.
Several other large chapters, such as UAW Local 600 in Dearborn and Local 2000 of Ohio, are set to vote today, and company-wide results might be available Tuesday or even tonight.
Emanuela Henderson, the recording secretary with UAW Local 900 in Wayne, told the Free Press that "a minimum of 90%" of the workers there voted in favor of the contract. That local represents more than 5,000 workers at Michigan Truck Plant and Wayne Stamping and Assembly.
Louisville workers overwhelmingly approved the contract, too: 80% of production workers voting at the Kentucky International Convention Center approved the deal, with 75% of skilled trade workers voting yes, UAW Local 862 President Rocky Comito told the Louisville Courier-Journal.
That local represents about 6,000 employees at the Kentucky Truck and Louisville Assembly plants, which make pickups and SUVs.
"Hopefully that shows union leadership workers have overwhelming confidence in them," Comito said. "I was hoping it would be unanimous, but no matter what you do, there's no perfect contract."
Although the tallies of some Sunday votes were not publicly available, many workers and experts said they believe the deal would pass without major opposition.
That has been the case at locals in Chicago, Ypsilanti, Flat Rock and other locations, where a large fraction of workers -- between 75% and 88% -- voted in favor of the deal. Easy passage was expected at other locals, too.
"I think it's going to pass overwhelmingly," Mike Pascarella, a worker at the Michigan Truck Plant for the past 19 years, told the Free Press on Sunday afternoon.
He drove an hour from his home in Howell to vote in favor of the deal at the Wayne Civic Center, where a steady flow of workers represented by UAW Local 900 cast their ballots.
"Most people were leaning toward yes," Pascarella said.
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