UAW Says Arbitration Hearing on Ford Sacrifice Dispute Continues

A hearing will continue into next month on the United Auto Workers’s complaint that Ford Motor Co. salaried employees didn’t sacrifice equally with hourly employees to help the company survive, the union said today.

An independent arbitrator will take testimony from additional witnesses in December after hearing three days of testimony this month, the UAW Ford Department said in a posting on its Facebook page. More than 35,000 Ford workers, who gave up pay increases and bonuses, signed the grievance last year after the company reinstated raises, tuition assistance and 401(k) matches for white-collar employees.

“The depth and gravity of questioning and testimony, particularly from our witnesses has taken longer than anticipated,” the union said in its post. “We are confident that we have presented a strong case to the arbitrator regarding the lack of equality concerning Ford Motor Company’s reinstatement of bonuses to the executives and salary employees only.”

The arbitrator has not scheduled a date for the next hearing, the union said. The arbitrator “should make his ruling within 90 days” of the conclusion of the hearing, the post said.

Michele Martin, a UAW spokeswoman, and Marcey Evans, a Ford spokeswoman, declined to comment.

Ford’s 40,600 hourly U.S. workers voted 63 percent in favor of a new four-year contract with Ford in October. Ford pledged 12,000 new jobs, $6.2 billion in factory upgrades, and bonus and profit-sharing payments this year that total as much as $10,000 per worker.

The accord did not include raises for senior workers or restore cost-of-living pay increases hourly employees gave up to help Ford survive after it lost $30.1 billion from 2006 through 2008.

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