United Auto Workers members at several locals have backed a ground-breaking tentative contract with General Motors Corp that may serve as a pattern for talks with Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC.
Dozens of UAW locals in the United States have scheduled ratification votes on the tentative four-year pact the union reached last week with GM that creates a health-care trust and two-tier wages.
GM rival Ford Motor Co and Chrysler LLC are both waiting for UAW-represented GM workers to ratify that contract before beginning their own crucial round of negotiations with the union.
Ford, which has seen its U.S. market share drop down to the 13 percent level it has projected for the basis of a sweeping restructuring plan, has indicated a resistance to agree to the same kinds of job security and investment pledges that GM offered the union, a person familiar with the talks said.
A majority of the more than 73,000 active UAW workers at GM in the United States who vote on the contract must approve it for the agreement to be ratified. Units that have released results so far have leaned heavily toward accepting the deal.
The UAW reached the tentative four-year contract with GM last week to end a two-day national strike -- the union's first broad-based walkout against the No. 1 U.S. automaker since 1970. The UAW expects to complete the voting on October 10.
Local 652 in Lansing, Michigan, which builds the new Cadillac CTS and other models, voted by 82 percent to approve the tentative national contract with GM and by 85 percent for a local agreement, President Chris Tiny Sherwood said.
Turnout was fairly heavy at the local, which has 2,500 to 2,600 members and completed its voting Tuesday night, he said.
I think it's a good agreement and a majority will ratify it, Sherwood said.
In a vote completed early on Tuesday, members of Local 1292 in Grand Blanc, Michigan, which is south of Flint, voted by 82 percent to approve the pact, President Kathy Otto said. More than half of the members participated in the vote.
The Grand Blanc local consists mostly of skilled trades workers who build fixtures for the assembly plants.
Local 730 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, also voted to ratify the contract in polling that ended Wednesday morning, though details were not immediately available.
Those results follow on similar percentage approvals at UAW Local 174 that represents up to 300 workers at GM service parts operations in Ypsilanti and Livonia, Michigan.
The union's contract with GM includes assurances of work at U.S. assembly plants, makes some 3,000 temporary workers permanent employees at top wages and allows GM to hire new workers outside the production line at lower wages.
Negotiators from Ford and the UAW have been meeting at a working level in a number of subcommittees this week, but high- level talks have not begun, the person said.