Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Shoppers who prefer to buy American-made cars should get a few more choices in the coming years.Under a new United Auto Workers contract with the Big Three U.S. automakers — expected to get final ratification from Ford workers on Tuesday, despite some opposition — Ford, General Motors and Chrysler are pledging to open or reopen U.S. factories to make vehicles that otherwise would have been made in Mexico or elsewhere.
Key to this change is a lower wage structure for newer employees, allowing them to be paid $14 to $16 an hour (eventually rising to $19.28), instead of the full $28-an-hour standard UAW wage.
This two-tier system was first put into place during the government bailout and bankruptcy of General Motors and Chrysler; the union is now extending it to Ford.
The earlier two-tier agreement paved the way for the current deal by providing for U.S. manufacture of the just-introduced Chevrolet Sonic.
The Sonic is being produced at General Motors’ Orion Assembly Plant in Michigan under a previous union deal, with 40% of workers there getting the lower-tier wage; until now, automakers believed they had to build low-priced subcompact cars abroad to maintain profitability.
Here’s what the new deal would mean for other American-made models →
This post originally appeared at CBS MoneyWatch.