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Last Updated: May 14. 2010 12:22PM

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Last Updated: May 14. 2010 12:22PM

Ford to restore tuition aid for workers

Bryce G. Hoffman and David Shepardson / The Detroit News

Wilmington, Del. -- Ford Motor Co. is close to an agreement that would restore tuition assistance benefits to its U.S. hourly work force, according to a Ford source familiar with the discussions.

The firm's recent success has prompted the United Auto Workers to renew demands that Ford reinstate some benefits UAW members gave up to help make the automaker more competitive.

When the automaker restored similar benefits to white-collar workers earlier this year, the union filed a grievance, accusing the company of violating its contract with the UAW.

This week, UAW Vice President Bob King, who heads the union's national Ford section, called on Ford to do the same for union members.

"We just want to make sure when things turn around we share in the upside," said King, who is the choice of top union officials to replace Ron Gettelfinger as UAW president at the union's convention next month.

Speaking to reporters after the company's annual shareholders meeting here Thursday, Ford CEO Alan Mulally said Ford is "honoring the intent of our agreement" with the UAW.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. said the company's relationship with the union "is very strong today, and we're going to continue to make sure that stays true."

Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans confirmed the company is in negotiations with the UAW about the tuition assistance benefits, which were suspended in 2008 in a joint decision by the automaker and the union.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100514/AUTO01/5140348/1148/auto01/Ford-to-restore-tuition-aid-for-workers#ixzz0nwD0qrLQ

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