Call it the Dearborn Contract. Ford Motor's UAW workers narrowly approved a new labor contract with a 51.4 percent "yes" vote -- or a margin of about 1,100 votes out of more than 40,000 cast -- after a last-ditch effort to get out the vote produced an overwhelming wave of support from the automaker's hometown manufacturing complex in Dearborn, Mich.
Before the Dearborn workers voted, the proposed contract was headed for defeat, with 52 percent of Ford's workers voting "no," according to tallies compiled by Automotive News and a UAW local in Chicago. For example, members of UAW Local 862 in Louisville, Ky., which represents about 18 percent of Ford's U.S. work force, had rejected the tentative agreement by a 2-1 ratio, despite promises of more jobs and investment.
But the pendulum swung the other way in Dearborn, where Local 600 has more than 8,000 members. The roughly 4,300 at Dearborn Truck voted 74 percent in favor of the contract. Nearly 4,000 workers at Dearborn Engine, Dearborn Stamping and Dearborn Diversified also voted "yes" by a wide margin.