St. Paul Ford Workers OK Contract

Tentative deal with the United Auto Workers would keep the Minnesota plant, originally slated for closure next year, open until 2009.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Union workers at a Ford Ranger truck plant in Minnesota voted to ratify a new employment contract with Ford Motor Co. that would keep the plant open into 2009, union leaders said.
 
In the two-day vote that ended Monday, 67 percent of the United Auto Workers members at the St. Paul plant voted in favor of the contract, the local union said.
 
If the contract is approved by a majority of union members across the nation, the 925 UAW workers at the St. Paul plant will remain on the job for an extra year. Ford originally planned to close the factory next year.
 
Union leaders have said improved Canadian truck sales are believed to have won the plant a temporary reprieve.
 
For Ford, the pact creates a new, lower-tier wage system for new hires, said Roger Terveen, president of Local 879. The new wage is about $14.20 an hour, less than half the $28 to $30 made by longtime workers and also less than the $18 that temporary workers make.
 
''This was a huge issue with a lot of members,'' Terveen said.
 
The nationwide vote tally was expected to be released Tuesday or Wednesday.
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