DETROIT, Nov 5 (Reuters) The United Auto Workers union's local unit leaders will get together on Monday to go over the new tentative labor agreement with Ford Motor Corp, which features a health-care trust fund and lower wages for new hires that will reduce the automaker's costs.
The embattled U.S. automaker and UAW reached an agreement early on Saturday after more than 40 hours of bargaining at Ford's Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and other top union negotiators for Ford were expected to address the local unit leaders on the details of the contract at a meeting in Dearborn, Michigan, on Monday afternoon, UAW local officials told Reuters.
The contract, likely to be put to a vote as early as next week, must be ratified by a majority of Ford's 58,000 workers.
Gettelfinger said in an interview on WJR radio in Detroit on Monday that Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Chief Executive Alan Mulally were directly involved in the labor talks during the marathon bargaining session last week.
UAW bargainers were very ''pleased'' with the negotiations and they were ''chomping at the bit'' to present the contract's details to local unit leaders, Gettelfinger said on the radio.
Ford workers were also anxious for details, one local union president said, adding that he has so far not received any particulars on the pact.
The proposed agreement between Ford and the UAW requires the automaker to put up substantially less cash than General Motors Corp or Chrysler LLC to fund a health-care trust, according to the Detroit News.
In exchange, the automaker is required to invest in U.S.
plants, according to the newspaper.
Also, Ford may hire new workers at lower wages until the overall number of workers in the lower-wage tier reaches 20 percent of its UAW work force, the newspaper said.
JP Morgan analyst Himanshu Patel said the union appears to have agreed to give Ford a few additional concessions in the area of wages and funding flexibility for the health-care trust.
''On balance, it seems that Ford may have received the additional concessions needed to compensate it for its younger existing work force relative to GM,'' he said in a note to clients on Monday.
Ford, which lost a record .6 billion last year, has indicated it was looking for approval to cut between 8,000 and 10,000 factory jobs. That would be in addition to the 27,000 union jobs it had eliminated through voluntary buyouts and early retirement offers as of June.
Ford's obligation for retiree health care had been estimated near billion. Last year, Ford pledged all of its major assets, including the familiar blue oval logo, as collateral in a billion borrowing program to fund its restructuring.
The automaker has also said it would close 16 plants in North America and cut nearly 45,000 jobs to return the region to profits.
REUTERS DKS KP2051