Ford Workers File Equity-of-Sacrifice Grievance With UAW

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Ford (NYSE:F) members of the United Auto Workers union haven’t had a raise for years, and now as the automaker begins to recover, nearly 35,000 employees have signed a grievance against Ford for restoring merit pay for salaried workers in 2010. The workers hope to have the matter resolved by the time national labor talks begin next month. However, the UAW says that they need only resolve the matter before their four-year labor contract expires in September and a new contract comes up for a vote. Negotiations will begin in July.

In 2010, Ford restored merit pay raises and 401K matches for salaried workers, but not hourly workers. Over the last year, 35,000 UAW members have signed grievances. At the end of 2010, Ford had 40,600 hourly workers in the U.S. According to the UAW, Ford’s decision to restore merit pay violated a contractual provision that requires all Ford stakeholders to make equal sacrifices in the path to Ford’s recovery.

The hourly workers have received profit-sharing checks averaging $450 each in 2009 and $5,000 each in 2010, but contest that it’s not the same as a permanent merit pay increase. Ford UAW members have not had a pay raise since their 2003 contract and is hoping to make gains this year, though they still receive wages $8 higher than workers at foreign-owned automakers at U.S. plants.

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