Less than a week after United Auto Workers members returned to GM (GM), UAW and negotiators Ferry (fa) announced on Wednesday that they had reached preliminary agreement.
Although there were some initial talks between the union and Ford before and even during the GM strike, Ford's negotiations moved to the forefront on the union on Monday.
The agreement must still be ratified by 55,000 union members in Ford before it enters into force. Neither the association nor the company would disclose any details of the contract.
But the quick resolution was a striking contrast to the controversial talks at GM. Nearly 50,000 GM workers have been on strike since September 16, until members of those countries ratified the new agreement and returned to work last Saturday. GM revealed this week that it expects the strike to cost $ 2.9 billion.
The car industry is facing a slowdown in sales and a risk of further decline if the US economy continues to slow down. It also faces the need to spend billions to develop new generation vehicles, electric and self-driving cars that may not be viable for years.
Ford announced that in the coming years it plans to spend $ 11 billion to restructure its operations around the world to free funds for the development of electric and autonomous vehicles. But while it is profitable, it has recently lowered its profit forecast by the end of this year. The cost of restructuring plans was the main factor lowering the credit rating to junk bond status recently.
"It seems that both sides have adopted a sensible approach and avoided a painful strike that would not benefit any of them," said Patrick Anderson, general manager of the Anderson Economic Group, a research company from Michigan that is tracking the automotive industry.
A successful ratification vote is by no means guaranteed. Four years ago, only 51% of union members in Ford voted for an agreement that included their first increases in over a decade.
But it always seemed unlikely that Ford employees would follow GM workers during the strike. From 1976, there was no break in work at Ford.
And the biggest contentious point in GM – the manufacturer's decision to close three American factories where work was suspended at the beginning of this year – was not present in Ford, where there are no plans to close plants in the USA.
The union promised to make GM change jobs from Mexico to try to revive the plants. While GM has agreed to build an electric truck scheduled for the day to be fixed at the fourth factory to be closed, it will not withdraw its work from Mexico to save any of the other three factories.
Ford employees are likely to get many of the same conditions as GM's. When the union reaches an agreement with one of the American car manufacturers, it seeks to ensure that the other two associated companies follow this pattern.
Under the GM contract, employees receive an hourly bonus for signing a contract of $ 11,000, an increase of 6% over the four-year period of the contract, a contract allowing the employment of many temporary employees on a permanent basis, and health care basically left unchanged despite the company's will, that employees would bear a much larger share of the costs.
If Ford employees agree to a new deal that includes these provisions, they will benefit from not losing six weeks' salary to receive those benefits.
After voting on the ratification of Ford, probably in the next few weeks, the union will turn to the third united car manufacturer in the US Fiat Chrysler (FCAU). Contract negotiations can be complicated by the potential to announce a merger with French car manufacturer PSA, the owner of Peugeot.
– CNN Business "Vanessa Yurkevich contributed to this story