DEARBORN, MICH., SEPT. 16 -- Negotiators for Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto Workers have reached agreement on most points in a new three-year pact that would include unprecedented job-security protections for union members.

The need to move a mountain of paperwork and finalize the contract language held up the signing of the pact today.

But sources close to the negotiations expressed confidence that an agreement will be ready in time for presentation to the union's 200-member bargaining council on Friday.

The council must approve the agreement before it is distributed for ratification by Ford's 108,000 UAW-represented employes, including those on temporary layoff.

The talks had an unexpected development late tonight when it was disclosed that UAW President Owen Bieber, the lead union negotiator at the talks, was in Henry Ford hospital undergoing examination for abdominal pains. Hospital officials said Bieber had been a patient for two days, beginning Tuesday night, but declined to give other information.

UAW officials said that Bieber possibly was suffering from fatigue. "It's not a heart condition or anything like that," one source said. "He's doing okay," the source said.

The pact, replacing one that expired Monday night, provides workers with a 3 percent raise in the first year. Specifics of wage increases in the other two years were not clear late today.

But it is the job-security provision that makes the agreement truly significant.

"It's an incredible, unprecedented program in the auto industry," said Thomas O'Grady, president of Integrated Automotive Resources Inc., an auto industry consulting firm in Wayne, Pa.

As described by sources, the tentative agreement would fix employment levels on a plant-by-plant basis and would guarantee that any worker laid off for economic reasons would be called back when conditions improved.

The provision, dubbed the Guaranteed Employment Numbers program, is based on a plan first negotiated between Ford and the UAW in 1984. That plan was designed to protect the jobs of employes who would have been laid off because of the introduction of new technology, the shifting of work to non-Ford plants, or the loss of jobs through consolidation of production facilities. Under the program, affected employes are placed in a "job bank" based on seniority, where they receive full wages and benefits while on layoff.

The $280 million project was hailed as a breakthrough, but it left uncovered those workers who lost their jobs because of market or economic conditions -- such as slower sales or a recession.

However, the provision negotiated this week would establish fixed employment levels at each Ford plant for the duration of the three-year contract.

Workers laid off for economic reasons would be called back as soon as the economic difficulties, such as poor sales, were resolved.

Also, Ford would have to replace one job slot for every two lost though attrition.

"It is an affordable program for Ford and a good program for the union. The UAW is getting a lot in this one," O'Grady said.

However, O'Grady and other auto industry analysts said that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for General Motors Corp. to accept the same terms.

The UAW is negotiating with both Ford and GM for new contracts.

But the union chose the more prosperous Ford as a strike target in hopes of winning a contract there before moving on to GM, where it hopes to win a similar agreement.

Talks at GM have been held in abeyance until matters have been settled at Ford.

Ford earned $3 billion in the first half of 1987, versus $1.9 billion earned at GM. But more important, GM is running with higher operating costs and at a lower operating capacity than Ford.

For example, Ford's U.S. assembly plants are operating at 115 percent of capacity, which means most of the Ford plants are running on overtime, said Susan G. Jacobs, vice president and manager of automotive research at Merrill Lynch Economics Inc. in York. By comparison, GM is operating at about 77 percent of capacity, she said.

By 1990, even with increased foreign competition in the U.S. auto market, Ford is expected to operate at 95 percent of capacity, versus 70 percent for GM, Jacobs said.

That means GM will have to close plants or drastically reduce production costs, by relying on more outside parts suppliers, if it intends to remain competitive, Jacobs said.

Maryann Keller, auto industry analyst with Furman Selz Mager Dietz & Birney in New York, agreed that the Ford job-security program "will be tough for GM to accept."

But the union's willingness to allow economic layoffs under the job-security program may make the program more palatable to GM, she said.

{In Toronto, Chrysler Corp. and the Canadian Auto Workers union today pushed closer to a settlement in a costly Canadian strike that threatened to cripple U.S. operations, officials said.

{Sources close to the negotiators said the two sides aimed for a tentative agreement in time to allow weekend ratification meetings by 10,000 workers at four assembly and parts plants in Ontario province.

{''The mood has changed dramatically in the last 24 hours,'' Union president Robert White said. ''We're driving toward a settlement.''

{The developments reduced the threat of a long strike that was expected to cause widespread layoffs at Chrysler plants in the United States.