UAW leaders approve tentative deal with Ford

DETROIT - Union leaders have approved a tentative contract agreement with Ford Motor Co. (F).

The United Auto Workers union says local plant leaders overwhelmingly approved the agreement, which is richer than contracts already negotiated at General Motors (GM) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU).

Ford workers must now vote to ratify the agreement. The four-year deal covers 53,000 workers at 22 U.S. plants.

Like contracts at GM and Fiat Chrysler, the pact eliminates a two-tier wage structure at Ford's plants over eight years. It also extends full health benefits to lower-tier workers.

Top-tier workers would get their first pay raise in a decade.

The agreement promises $9 billion in U.S. plant investments over four years.

Ford workers will get an $8,500 bonus if the contract is ratified, higher than bonuses negotiated at GM and Fiat Chrysler.