UPDATE 2-Ford union workers ratify new four-year U.S. labor pact - UAW
(Adds labor cost study, number of Ford UAW workers, background)
By Bernie Woodall and Joseph White
DETROIT Nov 20 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co's U.S. union workers narrowly approved a four-year labor contract after a late push for support by United Auto Workers leaders, the UAW said late Friday night.
The UAW said 51.3 percent of production workers and 52.4 percent of skilled trades workers voted in favor of the new contract, after more than a week of voting that concluded at U.S. operations of Ford on Friday night.
"This agreement provides a good foundation for Ford Motor Company, our employees and our communities as we work together to create an even stronger business in the years ahead," the company said in a statement.
The UAW's chief Ford negotiator, Jimmy Settles, said the contract was reached "through a fair and democratic process" and that it provides "job security and strong economic gains" for workers.
Two days ago, Settles reported that with three-quarters of the vote counted, 52 percent of Ford workers had rejected the new contract.
The new contract gives veteran workers their first raise in about a decade and phases out a two-tiered pay structure that paid those hired after 2007 less than more senior union members.
Ford has about 53,000 UAW members. Continued...