Ford and the United Auto Workers union have hashed out a new labor agreement as both sides announced a proposed tentative deal late Wednesday evening after just a week of official negotiations. Theagreement occurred at lightning pace comparing to the long slog of General Motors' negotiations with the union, which ended last week after a 40-day strike.
While theplayed out, the union and Ford remained in unofficial discussions, which likely helped each side come to a final agreement far more quickly.
Of the tentative agreement, Ford Vice President of Labor Affairs Bill Dirksen said, "Ford can confirm the UAW's announcement that the UAW and Ford have reached a proposed tentative agreement on a four-year contract. Further details will be provided at a later date."
The UAW dished out more details than the automaker in its own announcement, declaring the deal a victory for UAW-Ford workers. Additionally, the union said its "pattern" strategy remained effective; the union used theas a template for what union members working at a different automaker should expect.
"The pattern bargaining strategy has been a very effective approach for UAW and its members to secure economic gains around salary, benefits and secured over $6 billion in major product investments in American facilities, creating and retaining over 8,500 jobs for our communities," said UAW Vice President Rory Gamble.
The UAW-Ford National Council, just like during the GM talks, needs to review and approve the labor agreement to officially seal it as a tentative agreement. At that point, the union will release the contract details to the public. Members will then need to vote to ratify the agreement with a simple majority.
With few speed bumps expected, the ratification should come quickly. Meanwhile, the UAW will prepare to tackle its final automaker: Fiat Chrysler. While negotiations were likely to have gone similarly to Ford's, the news ofcould raise new questions about job security for production workers. The agreed merger would create the fourth largest automaker in the world.