(The Center Square) – On the 41st day on strike, the United Auto Workers Union reached a tentative deal with Ford Motor Co.
About 20.000 Ford workers at the Kentucky Truck Plant, Chicago Assembly Plant and Fort Wayne Assembly Plant will return to work while the agreement goes through the ratification process, with the UAW National Ford Council convening in Detroit to review the agreement.
“Ford is proud to assemble the most vehicles in America and employ the most hourly autoworkers. 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,” Ford said in a statement.
Ford also laid off nearly 3,000 employees related to the strike. The company did not say when those workers would be recalled.
UAW President Shawn Fain and UAW Vice President Chuck Browning shared agreement details in a video address.
“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 said. “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.”
The valuation of the deal gains are more than four times the gains from the 2019 contract and provide more in base wage increases than Ford workers have received in the past 22 years, the UAW says.
The agreement grants 25% in base wage increases through April 2028 and will cumulatively raise the top wage by more than 30% to more than $40 an hour and raise the starting wage by 68% to over $28 an hour.
“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,” Browning said. “Thanks to the power of our members on the picket line and the threat of more strikes to come, we have won the most lucrative agreement per member since Walter Reuther was president.”
The lowest-paid workers at Ford will see a raise of more than 150% over the life of the agreement, with some workers receiving an immediate 85% increase upon ratification.
The agreement reinstates major benefits lost during the Great Recession, including cost-of-living allowances and a three-year wage progression and ending union wage tiers. It improves retirement for current retirees, those workers with pensions and 401(k) plans. It also includes a right to strike over plant closures, a first for the union.
The UAW started the strike on Sept. 15 and has since expanded it to more than 40,000 workers in seven assembly plants and 38 parts distribution centers across 22 states as it nears the six-week mark.
It’s the first time the UAW has gone on strike against the Big Three Automakers simultaneously. Instead of calling on 146,000 members to go on strike, which would deplete the UAW’s strike fund, it’s striking select factories.
The strike continues at Stellantis and General Motors.