Ford, auto workers reach tentative deal; Fiat Chrysler talks on tap

Ford and the United Auto Workers have reached a tentative agreement, the union and company announced Wednesday evening after three days of negotiations.

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The proposed deal includes salary and benefits gains for workers and secures $6 billion for investments at Ford’s facilities in the U.S. The union didn’t immediately release specifics on the deal.

UAW President Gary Jones said the agreement “preserves job security and rewards UAW Ford members for their quality work.

“These were long and hard hours, but I feel confident they were able to secure a contract that protects our members’ future,” he said in the announcement.

Bill Dirksen, Ford's vice president of labor affairs, confirmed the UAW's announcement. He said the proposed agreement would set a four-year contract.

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The union reached the proposed deal with Ford just days after its workers ended a 40-day strike against General Motors. GM said this week that the strike cost the company about $2.9 billion in net income.

Rory Gamble, the union’s Ford director, said the UAW’s national negotiators had voted unanimously to recommend the proposed agreement.

“Our negotiating team worked diligently during the General Motors strike to maintain productive negotiations with Ford,” he said in a press release. “The pattern bargaining strategy has been a very effective approach for UAW and its members.”

The deal would create and retain more than 8,500 jobs, Gamble said.

The proposal will next go to the UAW-Ford National Council for adoption before going to all Ford UAW members for ratification.

Up next is Fiat Chrysler. “We don’t know whether they’ll have a strike or not. That’s still possible,” Kristin Dziczek, vice president of the Center for Automotive Research told the Detroit Free Press last week after the GM deal was sealed. What should help Fiat Chrysler however, the automaker is actually building a new, $1.6 billion assembly plant in Detroit and invest $900 million to modernize another facility.

Earlier this month, Cindy Estrada, who heads the Fiat Chrysler Department for the UAW, sent a letter to UAW members that said, "Our current goal is to have all your noneconomic and noninstitutional demands resolved before our turn to settle comes."

Late Wednesday, French automaker, PSA Groupe -- the company behind Peugeot automobiles -- had agreed to merge with Fiat Chrysler.

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