Ford workers get 25% raise over four years after six weeks of strike

A United Auto Workers union worker removes signs calling for a strike from the Ford embly plant in Wayne, Michigan, October 25, 2023.

The strike is probably coming to an end in Detroit, Michigan. The United Auto Workers (UAW) union indicated, Wednesday evening, October 25, that it had reached an agreement in principle with Ford, after six weeks of strike, while negotiations continue with Stellantis and General Motors (GM).

The agreement must now be ratified by Ford’s 47,000 union members. It provides for a salary increase of 25% over four years, including an 11% jump in the first year. After four years, the maximum hourly wage would be 40 dollars (37.90 euros), an increase of a third, according to UAW negotiator for Ford, Chuck Browning, while the minimum wage will increase by 68%. , to reach 28 dollars. From now on, it will only take three years, compared to eight currently, to have the full salary – differentiated salaries were introduced after the bankruptcy of Detroit, in 2009. Pensions are improved, while employees will have the right to strike in case of factory closure, which is a first.

President Joe Biden, who took up the cause of the union by going on a picket line at the end of September, immediately welcomed the news. “This tentative agreement delivers a record raise to auto workers who have sacrificed so much to ensure our big three iconic companies can continue to lead the world in quality and innovation”rejoices the president in a press release.

Mr. Biden, who presents himself as the most pro-union president the country has ever known, repeated his credo: “I always believed that the middle cl built America and that unions built the middle cl…Worker power is essential to building an economy from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. down. »

“We are reversing the trend”

The agreement is a clear victory for UAW union boss Shawn Fain, whose movement was popular in the United States and benefited from discontent with inflation which has reached 17% since Joe Biden took office.. “Together we are turning the tide for the working cl of this country”estimated Mr. Fain.

This former Chrysler electrician, elected in the spring at the age of 54, embodies the left wing of the union, after the previous management was convicted of corruption in 2020 and deemed too conciliatory with employers. The new aggressive strategy carried by Mr. Fain was based on the denunciation of the superprofits reaped since Covid by Ford, Stellantis and GM. The cumulative global operating profit of the three Detroit manufacturers soared from $4.8 billion in 2020 to $29.4 billion in 2021 and to $37.2 billion in 2022.

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