UAW Reaches Milestone Agreement With Ford, Signaling End To Detroit Automaker Strikes
The United Auto Workers union announced that they have reached a preliminary contract agreement with Ford, marking a significant step towards resolving the ongoing strikes against Detroit automakers, which have lasted for almost six weeks.
The contract, spanning four years, is subject to the approval of 57,000 union members employed by the company. If accepted, it has the capacity to end the string of strikes organized by the union at factories run by Ford, General Motors and Jeep maker Stellantis, as reported by AP.
The Ford agreement may serve as a model for deals with the remaining two car manufacturers, who still have workers on strike. The UAW has urged all Ford employees to resume their work, expecting that this will push GM and Stellantis to engage in negotiations.
"We told Ford to pony up, and they did," said UAW's President Shawn Fain. "We won things no one thought possible." He further added that Ford put 50 per cent more money on the table than it did before the strike started during mid-September.
Chuck Browning, the UAW Vice President and lead negotiator for Ford, announced that workers will receive a 25 per cent base wage hike. In addition to this, they will also get cost-of-living raises, pushing the total pay increase to over 30 per cent. This means that top-scale assembly plant employees will see their hourly wages rise to over $40 by the end of the contract. Earlier, Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors had all proposed 23 per cent pay raises.
Browning mentioned that assembly workers will receive an 11 per cent increase upon ratification, which is nearly equivalent to all the wage raises they have experienced since 2007. Historically, in previous auto strikes, when the UAW reached an agreement with one automaker, it often resulted in the other companies matching it with their own settlements.
In a statement, GM expressed its commitment to working constructively with the union to achieve an agreement as swiftly as they can. Stellantis similarly stated its dedication to reaching an agreement that will enable a prompt return to work for all employees.
While UAW reached a significant agreement with Ford, leading to wage increases for temporary workers and retirees, as well as improved benefits for pension holders and those with 401(k) plans, the union now has the right to strike over company plant closures. American President Joe Biden lauded the deal, emphasizing the importance of unions in supporting the middle class. Ford expressed its backing with the agreement and plans to resume production at key plants, bringing back 20,000 workers. However, specific financial details of the contract were not disclosed.