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Ford, GM extend UAW contract deadline

Michael Martinez, and Melissa Burden
DetroitNews

Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. have reached a contract extension with the United Auto Workers beyond tonight’s midnight deadline.

The move was expected after the union picked Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Sunday as the lead company to set a pattern for the other two contracts. Ford and GM will continue to negotiate but won’t reach an agreement until the union and FCA come to a deal. The current four-year contract for all the automakers is set to expire at midnight Monday.

Ford’s extension agreement was signed early Monday by Bill Dirksen and Jimmy Settles, lead negotiators for the company and union, respectively. The UAW announced a memorandum of understanding late Monday night to extend the current contract. It did not immediately specify how long the extension was for.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you and our members at GM facilities everywhere for the solidarity and patience you have shown us as we work our way through these difficult talks,” said UAW-GM VP Cindy Estrada late Monday in a letter to union members.

The extensions mean GM and Ford hourly and salaried workers will continue to operate under the 2011 contract’s pay rate and other factors until a new agreement is reached.

“As the UAW and FCA enter more targeted discussions, I have full faith and confidence that UAW President Dennis Williams and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Vice President Norwood Jewell will set the tone and negotiate an agreement that meets the needs and demands of the entire UAW-FCA membership,” Settles said in a statement.

During the past two rounds of negotiations in 2007 and 2011, none of the automakers finalized a contract before the deadline.

In 2011, a tentative deal with GM was reached two days after the deadline; Ford was roughly three weeks after; and FCA was in mid-October, nearly a month after the deadline.

In 2007, GM also led negotiations, followed by Chrysler and then Ford, which had talks last until early November.

mmartinez@detroitnews.com

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