What UAW Ford contract ratification means for Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler employs roughly 47,000 union members

The last of the Big Three Detroit automakers will start union bargaining on Monday after members of the United Auto Workers union at Ford voted Friday to approve a new contract with the company.

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Fiat Chrysler employs roughly 47,000 union members, according to Automotive News.

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"FCA welcomes the opportunity to move our discussions with the UAW forward in order to reach an agreement that will allow us to continue investing in our future and create opportunities for our employees, their families and the communities where we live and work," the company said in a statement on Friday.

UAW and Fiat Chrysler leaders are going to the bargaining table shortly after the automaker announced its merger with Peugeot at the end of October.

In this May 6, 2014, file photo, a vehicle moves past a sign outside Fiat Chrysler Automobiles world headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

The two companies will form a $50 billion auto behemoth. Shareholders will initially own 50 percent of the new company.

The union said in a statement that 56.3 percent of Ford workers who voted were in favor of the deal.

The four-year agreement gives workers a mix of pay raises and lump-sum payments as well as a $9,000 ratification bonus. The company also promises $6 billion in U.S. factory investments. Ford gets to close an engine factory near Detroit but its 600 workers there will get jobs at a nearby plant.

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Acting Union President Rory Gamble called the agreement "life changing" for workers and said it eliminates perpetual temporary employees and different wage tiers for workers doing the same jobs. Ford said the deal increases its competitiveness, keeping its cost structure similar to its U.S.-based competitors. It also secures 8,500 U.S. hourly jobs.

The contract will cost Ford $700 million in the fourth quarter, mainly to pay ratification bonuses to its 55,000 hourly workers.

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The deal is similar to one ratified by General Motors workers after a bitter 40-day strike this fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.