United Auto Workers (UAW) union leaders gave their approval for a new tentative contract agreement with Ford Motor, featuring a substantial $8.1 billion investment in manufacturing on October 29. This deal includes $5,000 ratification bonuses, 25 per cent compounded wage increases, enhanced profit-sharing payments, and other economic benefits. However, negotiations with General Motors (GM) are ongoing without a finalized agreement.
Under the UAW-Ford agreement, employees have the potential to earn up to $70,000 in extra compensation throughout the 4½-year contract period. The highest hourly wage will reach $42.60 by 2028, encompassing estimated cost of living adjustments. The deal also includes $50,000 buyout options for workers and eliminates lower-wage tier facilities.
Workers will also benefit from a $1,500 voucher towards purchasing a vehicle and increased company contributions to their retirement benefits.
"I applaud the UAW and Stellantis for coming together after hard fought, good faith negotiations to reach a historic agreement that will guarantee workers the pay, benefits, dignity and respect they deserve." President Joe Biden said following the deal.
The Ford contract entails the conversion of existing temporary workers into permanent employees, with an aim to achieve top-tier wages within three years. The deal has also opened a door for employees at joint ventures, battery plants, and Ford's electric vehicle complex in Tennessee to join the union and be encompassed by the overarching contract.
General Motors and the UAW are still negotiating, with obstacles to reaching an agreement remaining unclear, in contrast to Ford and Stellantis. An apparent point of contention revolves around retiree pension expenses.
A walkout at GM's Spring Hill, Tennessee plant, led by UAW President Shawn Fain, has been initiated due to management's reluctance to strike a fair deal. This move may impact the production of GM's important pickup trucks and other popular vehicles.