Ford Motor Co. and the UAW have amended their tentative agreement to give nearly 10,000 hourly workers higher pay this year than the original deal laid out.
The change effectively fixes a loophole that would have kept some newer workers who already got their annual raise this year from getting as big a pay increase as workers whose 2019 anniversary date is later than Nov. 15.
According to a memo sent to Ford plants, in-progression workers who have received their third-, fourth- or fifth-year raise already this year would make $2.50 to $3.50 per hour more.
Voting on the tentative deal has already started. At the first big plant to vote, Chicago Assembly, most cast their ballot against the deal. Roughly 62 percent of production workers represented by UAW Local 551 voted no, while a slim majority of skilled-trades workers voted in favor.
A small pilot plant in Allen Park, Mich., overwhelmingly voted in favor of the deal.
Voting will continue across the country through Nov. 15.
Acting UAW President Rory Gamble, who also is vice president of the UAW-Ford department, said he plans to attend multiple informational meetings to help sell the deal.
"I believe it's a very balanced agreement that hits on a lot of points for our members," Gamble told Automotive News on Wednesday. "Is it perfect? No, but no agreement is perfect. But it hits on many of the points and uplifts our members in many areas where it needs to be: wages, protected health care, product, investment. I'm very proud of it."
The tentative agreement includes more than $6 billion in investment and would create or retain more than 8,500 jobs. The deal would also provide full-time workers with a $9,000 ratification bonus, while temporary workers would get $3,500.
The gains include 4 percent bonuses this year and in 2021, 3 percent wage increases in 2020 and 2022, and annual $1,500 "inflation protection" payments.
It establishes a moratorium on outsourcing and plant closures, except for Romeo Engine in Michigan. When Romeo Engine closes, its workers will be transferred to Van Dyke Transmission nearby, with no job losses expected.
Ford is offering a $60,000 retirement bonus to all production employees and up to 200 skilled-trades workers who choose to retire. General Motors offered the same bonus amount but capped it at 2,000 production workers and up to 60 skilled-trades workers.