UAW ratifies contract, WAVE 3 interviews Ford Motor Co. President

By Scott Adkins

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Hefty bonuses and thousands of new jobs convinced Ford workers they should sign off on a new union deal.
At one end of the negotiating table, Ford of Americas President Mark Fields. “We’re very excited about the jobs we’re going to bring to Louisville.”
Louisville workers barely passed the labor agreement. Just 53% voted yes. Workers said it wasn’t enough to make up for years of layoffs, no overtime, losing a holiday and decreased cost of living adjustments.
“What we focused on was giving them lump sum payments, but also giving them a profit sharing plan that will allow them to share in the success of the company as we grow going forward,” Fields said.
“I think overall, the company is growing again. We’re adding jobs. These are good paying jobs,” Fields said.
Just before our one-on-one, WAVE 3 wanted to know what you’d ask fields if you had a chance. Lori Oliver and Marty Gunther felt retirees were shortchanged.
So we took those concerns straight to fields. “I think overall, it keeps the benefits the retirees had in the previous contract,” Fields said.
David Houston wanted to know when applications will open up for the 1,300 new jobs the company promised.
“We expect at this point right now, potentially in the second half of next year, we’ll add those positions,” said Fields.
The labor agreement ensures entry-level wages will be increased to $19.28 an hour.
Ann Mertz Thompson wanted to know why they have to sign a seniority waiver. Fields said it’s a system of attrition.
“Then at such time we reach our maximum percentage of entry-level wage folks, those by seniority have the opportunity to convert into a traditional employee wage rate.” When asked what timetable is allocated for that transition, Fields said. “That will depend on the number of entry level workers we hire over the time period and that depends on the demand of our products.”
The pact also calls for re-tooling the Kentucky Truck Plant.
Fields says for every new assembly line worker, 9 to 10 jobs are created through suppliers and other sub-contractors.
Copyright 2011 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

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