Ford Motor Co. will restore college tuition help for factory workers as it tries to settle a dispute over benefits with the United Auto Workers union, the Associated Press reports. The company notified union Vice President Bob King of the change in a letter sent last week, and The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter. Union leaders were told of the move at a meeting on Thursday in Chicago. The UAW had agreed to give up the tuition payments and make other concessions to help Ford through tough financial times in 2008 and 2009. But the company’s fortunes have improved since then. In December it restored merit raises, tuition benefits and 401(k) matches for white-collar workers, bringing a howl of protest from the union. Last month, Ford said it earned $2.1 billion in the first quarter of the year.
The UAW filed a grievance against the company, claiming that restoring benefits to salaried workers violated its contract because union workers gave up similar benefits. How much Ford reimburses white-collar workers for part of their higher education tuition was not immediately available.