In a significant development, Ford and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union have reached a provisional accord after almost six weeks of striking, which includes a groundbreaking salary hike. This agreement sets the precedent as the first settlement of strikes affecting Ford, General Motors (GM), and the Stellantis-owned Chrysler. However, the final approval of this deal rests with union leaders and members.
Temporary workers with the lowest wages will experience pay increases of more than 150% over the specified period. In addition, Jim Farley, Ford’s CEO and president, announced that the union has gained the right to call for strikes in the event of future Ford plant closures. Farley stressed, “Our primary focus is the swift restart of operations at Kentucky Truck Plant, Michigan Assembly Plant, and Chicago Assembly Plant, intending to bring back 20,000 Ford employees and ensure the timely delivery of our entire vehicle lineup to our loyal customers.”
Approval of the new contract by Ford employees would set the precedent for discussions with GM and Stellantis. UAW President Shawn Fain stated to BNN World News, “We requested Ford to meet our expectations, and they have delivered.” Mr. Fain disclosed that the agreement features a 25% salary increase over the contract’s four-and-a-half-year term, with an initial raise of 11%.
US President Joe Biden praised the tentative agreement, commending the substantial pay raise it grants to auto workers who have sacrificed much to maintain the leadership of our iconic Big Three companies in the realms of quality and innovation. The strike, initiated on September 15th, marked the first instance in the UAW’s 88-year history where all three automakers were simultaneously targeted. The union’s negotiations initially aimed for an approximately 40% pay increase over four years, along with a cessation of practices that resulted in reduced pay and benefits for newer workers.
Strikes were initiated by UAW members at numerous locations, spanning GM’s Arlington, Texas assembly plant, Ford’s Kentucky facility specializing in heavy-duty pick-up production, and Stellantis’ Ram pickup plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan. This development was disclosed just ahead of Ford’s quarterly financial results, which are set to be unveiled on Thursday. It’s important to note that the union’s strikes at GM and Stellantis are ongoing and BNN World News is closely reporting every development.
The companies, in response, argued that meeting the union’s demands would negatively affect their capacity for long-term investment and offered a counterproposal of a roughly 20% pay hike along with some other concessions. To exert pressure on these industry leaders, the UAW resorted to taking industrial action at the companies’ most profitable production facilities.
After the tentative agreement between Ford and the UAW was made public, GM and Stellantis confirmed their ongoing work to achieve similar tentative agreements with the union. Earlier this week, the Anderson Economic Group reported that the overall economic losses resulting from the strike had climbed to an estimated $9.3 billion (£7.7 billion) and it may increase further if the UAW strike continues further.