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Ford and UAW reach stock option agreement

March 9, 2009 at 5:56 PM

DEARBORN, Mich., March 9 (UPI) -- Members of the United Auto Workers union voted to allow Dearborn, Mich. automaker Ford Motor Co. to use stocks to fund half a healthcare plan.

Almost 60 percent of the union's members voted to allow Ford to pay half of a $13.2 billion commitment to a retired workers healthcare plan in company stock, The Washington Post reported Monday.

"The voting results show that our members are prepared to make painful sacrifices in order to be part of the solution," UAW vice president Bob King said in a statement.

"As we have stated many times, in order to succeed, shared sacrifice will be required from all stakeholders, including executives, directors, shareholders, bondholders, dealers and suppliers," UAW President Ron Gettlefinger said.

Faced with a severe sales slump and with the possibility of bankruptcy looming, General Motors Corp. has also sought concessions with the union. But talks broke down a month ago, the Post said.

U.S. Treasury Department liaisons to the automotive industry Steve Rattner and Ron Bloom are currently in Detroit, but their concern is primarily with GM and Chrysler LLC, which have asked the Treasury for an additional $21.6 billion in emergency loans.

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