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Workers Ratify U.A.W. Contracts With General Motors and Ford

Bringing to a close a tumultuous bargaining season with American vehicle manufacturers, the United Automobile Workers ratified contracts Friday with General Motors and Ford Motor.

The agreements followed one reached in October between union workers and Fiat Chrysler, the third of the Big Three automakers.

The agreement with G.M. came nearly a month after a tentative deal covering about 52,000 workers was first reached. Ratification was delayed in part because the automaker’s skilled trades workers, about 8,500 employees in all, had rejected the agreement. (These workers in general maintain machines at auto plants, and include electricians, pipe fitters, tool makers and millwrights.) Over all, G.M. workers voted 55.4 percent in favor to 44.6 percent against, but the skilled trades members were 59.5 percent against.

After meeting with skilled trades workers, the union renewed talks with G.M. and both sides agreed to changes that protected seniority rights and some job classifications, the union said.

“Based on the fact that the majority of the U.A.W.-G.M. membership concerns about protecting the core trades classifications and seniority rights have now been met, the International Executive Board took action to formally ratify the U.A.W.-G.M. national agreement,” the U.A.W. said in a statement.

The Big Three have worked for years to lessen the number of classifications of skilled trades workers.

G.M. said in a statement that the four-year agreement was good for employees and business. “We will continue to work with our U.A.W. partners to implement the agreement, and engage our employees in improving the business and building great vehicles for our customers,” the statement said.

Hours later, but by a narrower margin, Ford workers ratified their new four-year agreement, also covering about 52,000 employees, the union announced late Friday. The pact’s fate had looked bleak leading up to Friday’s voting, as several major plants, including those in Chicago and Dearborn, Mich., had voted against the tentative agreement, according to tallies posted by U.A.W. members on social media.

Ultimately, the contract was approved by a 51.4 percent majority.

The contract calls for raises for all workers, including a path to top wages for entry-level employees, and creates or retains 8,500 jobs. Workers will receive $10,000 ratification bonuses.

The U.A.W. Ford vice president, Jimmy Settles, said in a statement: “There is no higher authority than the membership. Through a fair and democratic process U.A.W.-Ford members have delivered job security and strong economic gains for their families and communities.”

With the agreement in danger, Mr. Settles had taken the unusual step on Wednesday of holding a news conference, warning workers that the union was unlikely to get an improved deal if the first one was rejected. He also suggested that Ford could pull back plans to invest $9 billion in the United States.

John Fleming, Ford’s executive vice president for global manufacturing and labor affairs, said in a statement: “This agreement provides a good foundation for Ford Motor Company, our employees and our communities as we work together to create an even stronger business in the years ahead.”

Some Ford workers wanted more.

“In four years, the contract will be null and void, so to me it’s still a two-tier agreement with no cap on entry levels,” said Eric Truss, an employee of Ford’s Dearborn Diversified Manufacturing Plant in Dearborn who voted against the tentative pact with the automaker.

Sharon Bell, who works at a General Motors transmission plant in Warren, Mich., said she, too, had voted against the pact with G.M.

“I’m not excited about it — there’s nothing great about it for the veteran workers,” said Ms. Bell, who said she had worked for General Motors since 1975. “I stopped getting raises over 10 years ago, so you’re not doing me any favors by giving me 3 percent.”

In the case of G.M., the union defended the ability of a minority of its members to hold up ratification. “Since its inception, the U.A.W. has put in place a process to ensure that minority groups have a voice,” the union said.

The union can override a rejection by skilled trades workers, but it cannot change contract components that apply to all members.

The new contract with G.M. goes into effect on Monday. It calls for raises for all workers and ends a two-tiered pay system, although it will take a newly hired worker eight years to reach top pay rather than the three years it used to take before 2007. Workers hired after 2007 have made less than those hired before that year.

The agreement, which basically follows the pattern first set in the contract with Fiat Chrysler, also calls for 1,300 new skilled trades placements.

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