Late on Wednesday, October 25, the United Auto Workers (UAW) at Ford Motor Company reached a tentative agreement for their next contract. This agreement comes after 41 days of “Stand Up” strikes against Ford, GM and Stellantis, otherwise known as the Big Three. The tentative agreement will still need to be voted on to go into effect, however, UAW says the strike at Ford will end while they are waiting for the members to vote whether to accept the deal.
The new agreement includes base wage raises of 25% over the length of the contract, which runs until 2028. Workers at the top of the wage scale will see over 30% increases, putting them above $40 an hour. The starting wage would go up significantly as well, increasing by 68%, to more than $28 an hour. For the lowest paid workers at Ford, this deal, if it goes into effect, will mean a raise of more than 150% over the life of the agreement. Some workers will see an 85% increase immediately upon ratification of the contract deal.
According to a press release from UAW, the agreement reinstates major benefits lost during the Great Recession, including cost-of-living allowances and a three-year wage progression, as well as killing divisive wage tiers in the union. It improves retirement for current retirees, those workers with pensions, and those who have 401(k) plans.
The tentative agreement also includes the right to strike over plant closures, including while the contract is in effect, which is key as the automotive industry increasingly moves to manufacturing of electric vehicles.
UAW President Shawn Fain and UAW Vice President Chuck Browning spoke in a video address about the deal. Fain said, “For months we’ve said that record profits mean record contracts. And, UAW family, our Stand Up Strike has delivered. What started at three plants at midnight on September 15 has become a national movement.” Fain added, “We won things nobody thought possible. Since the strike began, Ford put 50% more on the table than when we walked out. This agreement sets us on a new path to make things right at Ford, at the Big Three, and across the auto industry. Together, we are turning the tide for the working class in this country.”
Browning spoke as well about the agreement, saying, “Our union has united in a way we haven’t seen in years. From the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, our members came together to tell the Big Three with one voice that record profits mean a record contract.”
While workers at Ford begin voting on their agreement, the Stand Up strikes will continue at Stellantis and GM until an agreements are reached that meet the demands of the auto workers.