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Ford, UAW reach landmark pact

After 13 days of open-ended bargaining, Ford and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have reached a contract settlement under which the union's members will give back to the No. 2 US automaker an estimated $1 billion in wages and fringe benefits over 36 months beginning in September. In return, Ford will provide greater job security, Monitor labor correspondent Ed Townsend reports.

The Ford pact is considered to be the most significant ever negotiated by the auto union and is expected to cause bargaining problems for General Motors when its talks with the union resume in June and July. GM will be under heavy pressure to follow Ford's lead in giving job-security concessions - particularly a provision for ''lifetime employment'' that would protect workers in some Ford plants against layoffs. On the other hand, UAW may find that its ''give backs'' to Ford will prove unpopular and may hold off on granting them to GM.

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The contract still must pass a rank-and-file ratification vote among Ford workers.

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