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Chrysler, GM and Ford working out deals with unions

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 10/21/2011, 10:39 a.m.

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The United Auto Workers (UAW) union recently agreed on contract deals with the big three automakers.

Chrysler Group and the UAW agreed on a four-year contract last week that would potentially create 2,100 jobs. Chrysler stated they would invest $4.5 billion in its plants under the deal.

The deal, which covers 26,000 workers, includes a $3,500 signing bonus and $1,000 in annual bonuses. If the company makes money, Chrysler workers could receive profit-sharing checks in lieu of yearly increases in wages. Under the agreement, entry-level wages are raised to $19.28 an hour by 2015.

The tentative agreement still needs union members to officially ratify the it, though it would be the first contract agreement between Chrysler and the UAW since the carmaker received government assistance and went through U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2009.

On Sunday, Ford Motor Co. also approved a new labor contract with the UAW and the workers voted to ratify the deal on Tuesday. The UAW said on Sunday that 62 percent of the 5,282 workers voting at Local 600 in Dearborn, Mich., were in favor of the new agreement. Dearborn is the home of Ford's headquarters.

Late last month, the UAW agreed to a new four-year deal with General Motors, with the union only increasing the company's labor costs by 1 percent annually while protecting its strong balance sheet, according to GM executives.

Under the contract, it's projected that added expenses would be $175 million in 2011 and $20 million for each of the following two years. "It is a win-win for both membership and the company," said GM CEO Daniel F. Akerson during a conference call in September. "This new agreement is further evidence that this is really a new GM."