United Auto Workers (UAW) members have voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement after a contentious vote over the handling of recent layoffs. UAW members voted narrowly to approve the four-year contract with Ford Motor Co. 0fThe deal, which passed by a margin of 11,475 to 10,554, includes pay raises and signing bonuses, and will increase the number of jobs and apprenticeship opportunities for hourly workers.
The agreement was the result of a month of negotiations between UAW leaders and Ford — a process that was complicated by the automaker’s decision to lay off thousands of workers in January. That move in particular sparked outrage from UAW members, who accused Ford of treating them unfairly and demanded that Ford provide severance packages to those impacted by the cuts.
In a statement following the vote, UAW President Rory Gamble called the agreement a “mutual win” and a “demonstration of the power of solidarity.” He highlighted the concessions that Ford made in areas such as wages, benefits, and job security, adding that the deal “will have a positive impact on the stability and future of Ford and UAW members for years to come.”
But despite Gamble’s optimism, the agreement was far from unanimous. Many UAW members argued that the deal did not go far enough in protecting workers who were laid off and criticized the secrecy of the negotiations.
The ratification of the agreement is the latest step in the ongoing labor strife between UAW and Detroit Three automakers, the most recent of which resulted in a 40-day strike at General Motors last autumn.