Ford Motor and United Auto Workers (UAW) union negotiators reached a tentative labor deal after a six-week strike, UAW President Shawn Fain said on Wednesday, a 4-1/2-year contract that would provide a record pay boost.
The deal, which needs approval by union leaders and members, would be the first settlement of strikes by 45,000 workers against Ford, General Motors and Chrysler-parent Stellantis that began Sept. 15.
“We told Ford to pony up and they did,” Fain said in a video post on Facebook, adding that the strike at Ford “has delivered.”
Fain said the UAW reached an historic agreement with Ford, including a 25% wage increase over the life of the contract. Ford workers will receive an immediate 11% wage hike. Including compounding and cost of living, worker pay will rise about 33% to over $40 an hour over the life of the contract.
In addition to the general wage hike, Fain said that the lowest paid temporary workers would see raises of more than 150% over the contract term and employees would reach top pay after three years. The union also won the right to strike Ford over future plant closures, he said.
Fain said UAW was asking Ford workers to return to work to put pressure on GM and Stellantis to reach a deal.
Ford confirmed the news. “We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract with the UAW covering our U.S. operations,” Ford CEO and President Jim Farley said in a statement.
If the contract is ratified by Ford workers, it would set the standard for bargaining at General Motors and Stellantis and expire on April 30, 2028.
The Ford contract would reverse concessions the union agreed to in a series of contracts since 2007, when GM and the former Chrysler were skidding toward bankruptcy, and Ford was mortgaging its assets to stay afloat.
“This lays the groundwork for the next two contracts and they should fall in line fairly quickly because all three were within a narrow gap of each other,” Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions.
“The strike so far has been painful for everybody and knowing what it takes to get a signed contract should bring them to the table much quicker,” he said.
The UAW ratcheted up pressure on the companies by striking at each company’s most profitable plant – GM’s Arlington, Texas assembly plant, Ford’s Kentucky heavy-duty pickup factory and Stellantis’ Ram pickup plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
Total economic losses from the auto workers’ strike have reached $9.3 billon, the Anderson Economic Group said earlier this week.