DETROIT -- UAW members at Ford Motor Co. have ratified contract concessions and changes to retiree health care funding. Nearly 60 percent of the votes favored the measure.
The UAW announced the approval this afternoon. The deal allows Ford to use stock to fund up to half its obligations to a retiree health care trust.
Once again, UAW members have stepped up to make the difficult decisions necessary to deal with the reality of the current economy, the deteriorating auto industry as a whole and specifically the negative impact the economic climate is having on Ford Motor Co., UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement.
The UAW said 59 percent of production workers and 58 percent of skilled-trades workers approved the agreement.
To rebuild the U.S. auto industry, Gettelfinger again called for shared sacrifice from other stakeholders, such as company executives, directors, shareholders, bondholders, dealers and suppliers.
Ford said this afternoon that it is pleased the agreement was approved. The changes will help keep the company from needing emergency aid from the U.S. government, said Joe Hinrichs, Ford group vice president of global manufacturing and labor affairs, in a statement.
Said Hinrichs: By working together with our UAW partners, we identified solutions that will help Ford reach competitive parity with foreign-owned auto manufacturers and that are important to our efforts to operate through the current economic environment without accessing a bridge loan from the U.S. government.