Ford Motor Company (F) and the United Automobile Workers union are trying to save $500 million a year and bring its labor costs in line with what foreign competitors pay their workers in the United States. The deal, which UAWmembers ratified this week, immediately reduces its all-in hourly rate, including benefits, to $55, reports Nick Bunkly for The New York Times.

Currently, Ford’s labor costs amount to a little more than $60 an hour, including health care for retirees. The figure would continue to shrink as more workers take buyouts and when the new-vehicle market recovers, allowing increased production.

Phillip Waller for The International Herald Tribune reports that the British arm of Toyota (TM) is to cut UK staff pay and working hours by 10% to save money in the face of a sharp downturn in global demand. The “work share” agreement will take place at the two plants in Derby and Deeside and would begin on April 1, and continue throughout next year. Toyota is aiming at keeping employment sufficient throughout this hard period of time.

The Associated Press reports that President Barack Obama said he will accept a $410 billion spending package today, but insisted it must signal an “end to the old way of doing business.” The Federal funding earmarks were called “pork” by some, however, the president insists they are legitimate when done right. Plus, he said he’ll “work with Congress” to eliminate any earmarks the administration objects to.