Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers reached tentative agreement on a new three-year labor contract Sunday that the union said preserves the framework of its pact reached last month with General Motors Corp.

With ratification of the contract by Ford's 99,800 U.S. hourly workers - expected to be completed by Oct. 21 - the focus will switch to No. 3 Chrysler Corp., the final U.S. carmaker at which the UAW is seeking to fit the pattern pact reached at GM Sept. 17.While top Chrysler executives have indicated that the automaker cannot afford a contract like the one negotiated by GM, UAW President Owen Bieber said he was optimistic a strike could be avoided. "I don't get all shook up when (car manufacturers) tell me how bad they are," he said.

The pact between the UAW and Ford, the nation's second-largest automaker, was agreed to just before 9 a.m. Sunday, capping an all-night bargaining session at the carmaker's world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.

No details were immediately available, but Bieber said Ford workers represented by his union "will fully share in the gains achieved by the pattern settlement reached at General Motors. We were able to get a very difficult task accomplished in good order."

Ford is believed to have agreed to the same 3 percent base wage increase in the first year, and 3 percent lump sum payments in the second and third years as in the GM agreement, as well as substantial increases in pension benefits.