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United Auto Workers OK Contract With Mitsubishi

From Associated Press

United Auto Workers members have approved a 31-month contract with Mitsubishi Motors North America, union officials said.

Local 2488 President Ralph Timan, calling the pact “a major victory for our members,” said 77% voted in favor of the deal Sunday. The factory here, the Japanese automaker’s only U.S. plant, makes the Eclipse, Galant and Endeavor models.

Timan said that wages would increase during each year of the contract and that employee benefits, such as healthcare and retirement, would not change until its expiration March 27, 2008.

Executives at Mitsubishi, whose U.S. headquarters are in Cypress, also welcomed the ratification vote, saying the contract sends a message that the union and the automaker are working together for long-term success.

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“This new agreement will help guarantee a climate of economic certainty for our employees, our plant and our community and allow us to continue focusing on building world-class-quality vehicles for our customers,” said Jerry Berwanger, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Mitsubishi Motors North America.

Union officials would not disclose specifics about the new contract Sunday, but a pamphlet obtained by an area newspaper indicated that workers’ base wages would rise 2% in 2006 and 3% in 2007. Including cost-of-living adjustments, production workers currently paid $25.16 an hour would earn $29.52 by the expiration of the contract.

The UAW represents about 2,800 workers at Mitsubishi’s plant in Normal.


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