Ford and UAW auto union reach tentative agreement after more than 40 days of strike

The agreement notably includes a 25% increase in base salary and cost of living allowances. It must still be ratified by workers in a vote to take place in the coming weeks.

After 41 days of strike, the automobile union UAW and the automobile manufacturer Ford have found a “agreement in principle” Wednesday October 25. This includes a 25% increase in base salary and cost of living allowances, the UAW said. It must still be ratified by workers in a vote to take place in the coming weeks. Ford said to himself “satisfied” of this result.

“We achieved things that no one thought possible”welcomed Shawn Fain, the president of the UAW union. “Since the start of the strike, Ford has put on the table 50% more than when we walked out. This agreement puts us on a new path to turn around the situation at Ford, among the Big Three (nickname given to the three historic manufacturers, Editor’s note)and throughout the automotive industry”he added.

Biden hails “historic” deal

The agreement was immediately hailed as “historical” by US President Joe Biden, who had traveled to the picket line in Michigan. “I applaud the UAW and Ford for coming to terms after hard, good-faith negotiations, and for reaching a historic agreement in principle this evening.”did he declare.

This is the first time that the “Big Three” (Ford, General Motors and Stellantis) have been targeted at the same time. The strike, linked to the development of the next collective agreements, mobilized nearly 45,000 employees in total on Tuesday, out of the 146,000 registered at the UAW. The latter announced that Ford workers would return to their jobs to put pressure on General Motors (GM) and Stellantis. “This is a strategic decision aimed at obtaining the best possible agreement”underlined Chuck Browning, vice-president of the UAW. “The last thing GM and Stellantis want is for Ford to return to full production capacity while they waste time”.

“We are focused on restarting the Kentucky Pickup Plant, the Michigan embly Plant and the Chicago embly Plant, getting 20,000 Ford employees back to work and delivery of our complete range to our customers”declared Jim Farley, CEO of Ford, quoted in his group’s press release.

More than 40 dollars an hour

The tentative contract negotiated with Ford provides for a wage increase slightly lower than the 40 percent that Shawn Fain demanded when the UAW launched the strike on September 15, but it is significantly higher than the 9 percent initially proposed by Ford in August. “The agreement provides for a 2% increase in base salary until April 2028”details the union in its press release. “It will result, in total, in an increase of more than 30% in the highest salary, or more than 40 dollars per hour, and an increase of 68% in the starting salary, to more than 28 dollars per hour. time”.

“Ford’s lowest paid workers will get a raise of more than 150% over the life of the agreement”, notes the UAW again. The agreement also removes pay grades that disadvantaged younger employees, improves the pensions of current retirees and guarantees the right to strike in the event of factory closures. “Together we are turning the tide for the working cl of this country”ured Shawn Fain.

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