Ford Motor (F) reached a tentative agreement, announced Monday, with the United Auto Workers to pay $6.6 billion in obligations to the union’s health-care trust fund in stock. The agreement could pave the way for the union to become Ford’s largest single shareholder. The deal was struck with Ford ahead of similar current negotiations with General Motors (GM) and privately held Chrysler, which are both negotiating with the U.S. Treasury over continued taxpayer loans to the troubled automakers. GM and Chrysler are also trying to secure deals to reduce the face value of bonds. If they can’t get concessions from the UAW and bond holders, GM and Chrysler risk being forced into bankruptcy court. continue reading

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