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First UAW vote at Ford is overwhelmingly in favor of ratifying deal

<i>Bill Pugliano/Getty Images</i><br/>United Auto Workers members strike at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant on September 16
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
United Auto Workers members strike at the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant on September 16

By Chris Isidore, CNN

New York (CNN) — The first United Auto Workers union vote by rank-and-file members was 82% in favor of the tentative labor deal that ended the union’s strike at Ford last week, an early sign that the recent labor deals will be able to get the membership support they need.

The UAW members in this first vote work at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan. There are about 4,800 UAW members at the plant, and nearly 4,000 of those were either on strike or laid-off by the company during the work stoppage. They are members of Local 900, the unit of the union based in Wayne.

The results of this week’s votes were disclosed on a ratification tracker posted by the union late Thursday. It showed about 3,600 members participating in the vote, or about 80% of the membership, a very high rate of turnout in a ratification election.

The ratification process will determine if the contracts reached between negotiators for the union and the automakers go into effect, or whether they will be rejected by the rank-and-file, which would likely result in an immediate resumption of the strike.

There have been numerous examples in recent years of rank-and-file voting “no” on deals endorsed by their union leadership, including most recently at Mack Trucks, the heavy truck maker. Nearly 4,000 UAW members went on strike October 8 after members rejected an 11th-hour deal reached a week before that appeared to have averted a strike. They remain on strike.

The union staged its first simultaneous strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis starting September 15. But it did not have all 145,000 members at the three companies walk out at that time. Instead it started with a targeted strike at one assembly plant at each company going on strike on that date. The Michigan Assembly plant was the first Ford factory to go on strike on September 15, so the workers there lost more paychecks than any other union members at Ford.

The UAW expanded the scope of the strike six times in the following seven weeks as a way of increasing pressure on the companies at the bargaining table.

The ratification process is conducted on a local-by-local basis and will extend into next week. Ford was the first of the three automakers to reach a deal with the union, so its employees are the first to begin the ratification process. And Local 900 is the first to report results. In total, there are 36 different locals at Ford — 35 still have to vote.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Business/Consumer

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