DETROIT — Many workers at the Ford Motor Company are signaling that they are unwilling to help the automaker cut its labor costs further, by voting against what would be the third round of concessions in the last two years.
Members of at least five local chapters of the United Automobile Workers union have turned down the proposed changes, which include a six-year wage freeze for newly hired workers, some job-classification changes and a provision that bars the union from striking over demands for better pay and benefits through 2015.
Ford, the only one of the three Detroit automakers to avoid bankruptcy this year, says it needs the modifications to remain competitive with General Motors and Chrysler, whose workers agreed to similar deals in the spring. Compared to its crosstown rivals, Ford has been surging.
Only about a third of the locals representing Ford’s 41,000 union workers had finished voting by Tuesday, but already the potential for successful ratification was diminishing unless U.A.W. leaders could quickly contain growing opposition among rank-and-file members.