Union leaders at Ford Motor Co. approved a new contract Wednesday that guarantees jobs for about 23,500 workers at Ford parts plants even if Ford turns its parts division into a separate company.
"They can spin off the plants, but they can't spin off the people," UAW President Stephen P. Yokich said in a summary of the tentative four-year deal between the UAW and Ford.
The UAW's Ford executive council unanimously recommended the deal; voting by about 100,000 workers is scheduled to end Oct. 24. Most of the terms mirror those agreed to by General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler--3% raises each year, a $1,350 signing bonus and improvements in pensions.
The UAW's biggest problem in this year's negotiations was Ford's plan to sell or spin off its Visteon Automotive Systems parts business, just as GM did last year with its Delphi Automotive Systems.
The union said that under the deal, workers at Visteon will remain Ford employees for life--with Ford paychecks and pensions--if Visteon becomes independent. Those workers would also be free to transfer back and forth between Ford and Visteon.
GM workers approved their new four-year contract Wednesday. DaimlerChrysler workers ratified their contract in September.