Dearborn, Michigan – Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) have reached a tentative agreement to modify certain operating provisions of its 2007 National Labor Agreement. If ratified, this would help Ford operate through the current economic downturn without accessing a U.S. government bridge loan, and to continue to invest in the company’s product-led transformation, the automaker said.

The announcement was made by Joe Hinrichs, group vice-president of Ford’s global manufacturing and labour affairs.

The agreement, reached Sunday afternoon, includes modified provisions on labour costs, benefits, and operating practices, which Ford said would allow it to reach competitive parity with foreign-owned automakers’ manufacturing operations in the U.S.  A final settlement agreement is contingent upon the union and the automaker reaching agreement on funding issues associated with the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association retiree health care trust.

The final agreement would cover approximately 42,000 UAW-represented employees in the U.S., and is subject to ratification by the active UAW-Ford membership.

In a separate statement, the UAW said that it had reached similiar agreements with General Motors and Chrysler.

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