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UAW workers at Ford Motor Co. reluctantly ratified an agreement that reduces their benefits, break time and potentially weakens the fiscal soundness of a retiree health care fund in an effort to help the ailing automaker survive through the global recession.
The UAW said today that 59% of production workers and 58% of skilled-trades workers voted in favor of the agreement during elections held at locals nationwide.
The new agreement, which will last until 2011:
• Eliminates a holiday and suspends a Christmas bonus.
• Cuts break time and suspends cost of living increases and performance bonuses.
• Offers buyouts
• Allows Ford to partially fund a retiree trust fund — Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association — partially with stock instead of cash.