Under pressure from the United Auto Workers, Ford gave workers a choice between a pension plan, heretofore only available to management, and an across-the-board wage increase. Although employees chose the wages, the company’s willingness to even discuss the pension issue helped to convince UAW president Walter Reuther and his supporters that future union activism in this area should focus on Ford. Two years later, with workers threatening a strike, Ford agreed to a fully-funded pension plan. The company would contribute twenty million dollars a year to the fund, allowing workers with thirty or more years of service to draw a retirement income of a hundred dollars a month, triple the amount that they would have access to from Social Security alone. Chrysler and General Motors followed shortly thereafter with similar plans.
Source : Michigan Historical Calendar, Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.