The new four-year contract proposal for Ford employees is sputtering toward the finish line.

uaw Ford-UAW5With more than 34,000 votes counted nationwide so far, the proposal is being rejected by 52 percent of the United Auto Workers membership, according to a tally obtained by Insider Louisville.

As votes came in Thursday, the rejection rate rose to more than 53 percent before falling back to 52 percent.

Employees at four locations in Dearborn, Mich., will vote today, the last day of voting, and a local union official said he expects to have results to the members at about 10 p.m.

While more Ford locations have voted for – than against – the proposal, workers at larger plants are thoroughly rejecting it: Four of the six operations with more than 2,000 employees who have voted so far have rebuffed the leadership’s tentative agreement with the company.

Among the more than 20 locations where workers have voted so far, the Louisville Assembly Plant had the largest percentage of members rejecting the proposal, with 67.9 percent. The Chicago Assembly Plant ranked second, with a rejection rate of 67.6 percent. The Kentucky Truck Plant was third, with 65 percent.

The Detroit Free Press reported this week that the proposal may be in trouble, because UAW Local 600 in Dearborn “has traditionally been a stronghold for activists who disagree with the direction of the UAW.”

The UAW’s national leadership and Ford officials had announced the proposal Nov. 6. Nationwide, the contract would cover about 54,000 employees.

The tentative agreement includes an $8,500 signing bonus, a profit-sharing prepayment of $1,500 and company investments of $1.3 billion into the two local plants.

If a majority of the members nationwide vote for the proposal, it will cover the Louisville plants, even though workers here rejected it.

Ford unveiled the 2017 Escape this week at the LA Auto Show.
Ford unveiled the 2017 Escape this week at the LA Auto Show.

Todd Dunn, president of United Auto Workers Local 862, said this morning that he hopes to have final results to the local members before 10 p.m.

Regardless of how the vote goes today, union members will return to their stations, he said.

“We plan on coming to work and working like we normally do,” Dunn said.

If a majority of union members across the nation reject the proposal, Dunn said he expects to be notified by the union’s national leadership about the next steps.

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Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.