UAW members ratify contract with Big Three automakers

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(The Center Square) – The United Auto Workers union members have ratified new contracts at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, marking the end of a historic strike.

Across the three companies, 64% of voting members voted in favor of the agreements.

“The members have spoken,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a statement. “After years of cutbacks, months of our Stand Up campaign, and weeks on the picket line, we have turned the tide for the American autoworker. The Stand Up Strike was just the beginning. The UAW is back to setting the standard. Now, we take our strike muscle and our fighting spirit to the rest of the industries we represent, and to millions of non-union workers ready to Stand Up and fight for a better way of life.”

The 146,000 UAW autoworkers at the Big Three have won back major provisions lost during the Great Recession, from cost-of-living adjustments to annual bonuses for retirees to the elimination of wage tiers.

Ford President and CEO Jim Farley welcomed the new agreement covering more than 57,000 UAW-represented employees but called on the company to increase productivity to compensate for the “significant cost” added by the labor agreement.

“It’s also imperative that we continue to attack cost and waste throughout our operations,” Farley said in a statement. “The reality is that this labor agreement added significant cost, and we are going to have to work very hard on productivity and efficiency to become more competitive.”

Farley said the company will soon launch new products including the new Ranger and Ranger Raptor. New F-150, and F-150 Raptor, New Expedition, New Explorer, New Lincoln Navigator, and new Lincoln Aviator.

“All told, we are refreshing about half of our U.S. volume in 2024,” Farley said. “We are also working flat out on our next generation of electric vehicles and software platforms.”

Over the life of the agreement, members will see raises of at least 33%, after COLA and compounded wage increases, ranging up to over 160% for some of the lowest-paid workers. Tens of thousands of autoworkers will see immediate raises of over 40% upon ratification.

At all three companies, the union won a three-year wage progression to the top pay rate, down from eight years. This restores the progression before the 2011 contract.

Stellantis agreed to reopen an assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois, it shuttered in February and committed to building a $3.2 billion battery plant employing more than a thousand union workers.

The UAW won commitments from all three automakers that will bring thousands of electric vehicle and battery jobs under the union’s national agreements.

Current retirees will receive annual bonuses for the first time in 15 years, a $1.25 billion boost in their benefits. Though the union did not win back defined benefit pensions for post-2007 hires, the employer contribution to their 401(k)s is massively boosted to 10%, which will more than double many members’ annual 401(k) contributions over the life of the contract.

Union membership ratified all six agreements – hourly and salaried units at each of the three automakers.

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