TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Auto workers at eight Dana Corp. plants have approved a new contract that will free the company from paying for health care for retirees and establish a two-tier wage structure, the United Auto Workers said Wednesday.
Approval of the new contract puts the auto parts maker closer to emerging from bankruptcy protection.
Toledo-based Dana announced an agreement three weeks ago that included contracts with its unions and a deal with Centerbridge Capital Partners, which will invest $500 million in the company.
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger said 86 percent of the workers voted to accept the four-year agreement.
The contract covers about 2,300 workers and 6,200 retirees. The plants are in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
The deal still needs the approval of a federal bankruptcy judge.
The company expects to save more than $100 million per year by shifting the responsibility of retiree health care to a union-controlled trust fund and establishing a two-tier wage system.
Dana sells brakes, axles and other parts to most major automakers, including General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.
It filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2006 amid pressure from big car makers to sell parts at lower prices in recent years. Dana has said its U.S. operations lost $2 billion over the past five years.
The company's strategy now includes moving manufacturing capacity from the U.S. to lower cost countries, such as Mexico. It is closing eight North American plants and selling several manufacturing units.