The United Auto Workers (UAW) union strike has ended at Ford, as the two sides have come to a historic tentative labor agreement that will see base wages rise by as much as 25% over the next four-and-a-half years. While the deal isn't finalized, and is still going through the ratification process, both sides have announced the agreement and the UAW has instructed its striking Ford employees to return to work.
"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," said UAW President Shawn Fain in a video posted to social media. "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. Together, we are turning the tide for the working class in this country."
Base wages will increase by 25% through 2028, while the top wage will increase more than 30%, up to $40 per hour. The starting wage will become $28 per hour, an increase of 68%. However, the employees most impacted will be Ford's lowest paid workers, who will see an increase of 150% over the course of the next four-and-a-half years. In addition, this deal brings back employee benefits that were lost during the Great Recession, provides cost-of-living allowances, throws out wage tiers, and improves retirement for pensions, 401ks, and even current retirees.
"UAW members at Ford will receive more in straight general wage increases over the next four and a half years than we have over the last 22 years combined," UAW-Ford Vice President Chuck Browning said.
Another historic part of the deal is the union's right to strike over plant closures, which has never been included in a UAW contract before.
Now that Ford has made a deal with the UAW, pressure is on at GM and Stellantis to get similar deals done, lest they want to lose further ground to one of their primary rivals. The terms of the contract with Ford provide a template for the other two Detroit automakers, who now know what must be done to put an end to their own plant stoppages.
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