Ford Motor Company has announced that it has reached a “tentative agreement on a new labor contract” with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union for its U.S. operations. This agreement could potentially bring an end to the strike that started in mid-September, making Ford the first of the Detroit Three automakers to settle with the UAW.
Ford and the UAW have reached a “tentative agreement” to end the strike that has affected the company’s operations for several weeks. The agreement is pending ratification by the UAW-represented employees of Ford.
Positive Signs of Progress
Ford is planning to restart production at its Kentucky Truck Plant, Michigan Assembly Plant, and Chicago Assembly Plant, which will involve calling back 20,000 employees and resuming the shipment of its full lineup of vehicles to customers. However, the agreement is still subject to ratification by Ford’s UAW-represented employees.
UAW President Sees “Historic Victory”
During a Facebook Live event, UAW President Shawn Fain expressed optimism about the “historic victory” achieved by the union. Fain highlighted the effectiveness of the strike, describing how it pushed Ford to the negotiating table. The union’s decision to expand the strike to include Stellantis’s Sterling Heights Assembly plant and General Motors’s Arlington Assembly plant sent a clear message to Ford.
Fain stated, “Ford knew what was coming for them on Wednesday if we didn’t get a deal. That was checkmate.”
A Lucrative Agreement for UAW Members
Chuck Browning, UAW Vice President, referred to the tentative agreement as a “record contract” and the most financially rewarding agreement per member since Walter Ruether’s presidency. The agreement offers significant wage increases for UAW workers, with a general wage increase of 25% over the contract’s duration.
Upon ratification, Ford UAW workers will see an immediate 11% wage hike and top wage rates will increase by approximately 33%, while the starting wage rate will rise to about 68%. Temporary workers will also receive substantial raises of over 150% over the life of their contracts.
Improvements in Retirement Benefits and Job Security
The tentative agreement includes several improvements in retirement benefits and job security for UAW members. It introduces a three-year progression, eliminating wage tiers at specific plants, and offers a pension multiplier for retirement benefits. Current retiree members with pensions and 401K plans will also benefit from enhanced retirement provisions.
Furthermore, if ratified, the agreement would grant the UAW the right to strike over plant closures for the first time, providing an additional layer of protection for workers.
Progress with Other Automakers
Following Ford’s announcement, General Motors and Stellantis have also expressed their commitment to working with the UAW to reach tentative agreements as soon as possible. The hope is that these negotiations will bring an end to the strikes at all three automakers and ensure the resumption of normal operations.