Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Choice for Ford Workers: Money or Jobs

Want an early sampling of how many Ford UAW members feel about their proposed new contract with the Dearborn automaker?

Check out comments from Ford workers on the Facebook page

"Congratulation's to our international union for getting us to give concessions and not being able to make Ford hd (hold) up to their end of the bargain. Really, really pathetic actually."

"It's time someone stands up to corporate America why not the UAW we can't just keep giving and they benefit."

"No raise, COLA, etc then no added workload. Right!?"

Ford Auto Workers Chicago
Getty Images

When you read those comments, it's not surprising to hear that 77 of the UAW members at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant rejected the tentative 4 year labor contract the union leadership reached with Ford.

In a nut shell, it seems many UAW members at Ford are ticked that they are not getting cost-of-living increases while the company keeps the two-tier wage scale.

The UAW leadership points out the deal is bumping up the pay for workers on the lower tier and Ford has agreed to add roughly 12,000 jobs over the life of the contract.

But here's the rub: the reason Ford is adding those jobs (most at the lower-tier wage scale) is because this contract keeps the company competitive with GM and other automakers building cars here in North America.

This means Ford is basically giving the UAW a choice: You want jobs or do you want more money?

If UAW members reject this deal and demand more money, there's a good chance Ford will ultimately say, "Sure, you can have more money, but we may not add as many new jobs."

Now, there are probably many of Ford's 41,000 UAW members who are saying to themselves, "Hey, I haven't had a cost of living increase since 2003. Why should I be happy to add more jobs when I'm not making any more at a company that is profitable?"  Fair point. Then again, Ford is offering UAW members a bonus structure that should, depending on Ford being profitable, help pad the income of the rank and file.

The real question is whether Ford UAW members are really ready to reject this contract and hold out for more money?

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