United Auto Workers Strike a Deal with Ford Motor Company
Photo Source: Ford
The shape of the automotive industry is changing as companies other than Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors capture market share and invest in new plants, away from traditional manufacturing locations. The adversarial character of business and industrial relationships in Detroit is characterized in the relationship between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and management at the Big Three.
The union, however, has a clear understanding of the problems facing vehicle makers and what they need to do. They will drive a hard bargain because that is what their members want them to do, but they also want management to step up to the plate. Smooth negotiations will assist both sides in meeting necessary accords for their futures.
Negotiations Between Ford and UAW
To that end, on October 25, 2023, United Auto Workers announced that it had reached a “tentative agreement” with automaker Ford Motor Company, potentially bringing an end to a six-week strike action. Shawn Fain, UAW President, and Vice President Chuck Browning announced the deal on X, formerly Twitter. Fain claimed the contract valid through 2028 would provide a record pay increase of 25 percent to UAW member employees. Temporary workers, which the union declared have been “exploited” by the Big Three, would see raises of 150 percent, with some workers receiving an 85 percent hike immediately upon ratification.
With cost of living adjustments (COLA), the top rate is expected to increase by over 30 percent to above $40 per hour, and starting wages will rise 68 percent to $28 an hour. Job security has also improved, as the union has won the right to strike over plant closures. As a matter of fact, the executives declared it was the “most lucrative agreement” in decades.
The deal still needs approval by union leaders and members but would mark the first settlement of strikes by 45,000 workers against General Motors (GM), Ford, and Stellantis (STLA), which began on September 15, 2023. Ford’s agreement, scheduled to expire on April 30, 2028, would also set a bargaining standard for the UAW against the remaining firms. That said, the deal was approved by the union members. Union leadership gathered in Detroit on Sunday, October 29, 2023, where they sent the agreement to the membership, who could then vote on the deal.
Announcements Made by Both Parties
UAW President Shawn Fain made the following assertion to the members: ”Everything we did at the bargaining table, every extra $100 million we got the company to give up, was because of you, the members. And the next steps are also up to you, because the members are the highest authority in our union. We send this contract to you because we know it breaks records. We know it will change lives. But what happens next is up to you all.”
In a similar statement, Ford confirmed, “Ford is proud to assemble the most vehicles in America and employ the most hourly auto workers. We are focused on restarting Kentucky Truck Plant, Michigan Assembly Plant, and Chicago Assembly Plant, calling 20,000 Ford employees back to work and shipping our full lineup to our customers again.”
Moreover, Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives took to X to celebrate the deal. “Ford and UAW finally get a deal done after a nightmare 40 days,” he said, adding that GM and Stellantis were likely the “next dominoes to fall,” with a possible deal over the next week.
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