UAW Reaches Tentative Deal with Ford, Tells Workers to Return

UAW-strike-Ford-deal
UAW President Shawn Fain, left, and International Vice President Chuck Browning, right, appear in a video announcing the deal with Ford.

After striking a "historic" and "life-changing" possible contract with Ford, the UAW is putting the pressure on GM and Stellantis to match it.

UAW negotiators reached a tentative agreement with Ford on a record contract late Oct. 25---40 days into the union's strike against the Big Three---and called on Ford strikers to return to work, UAW President Shawn Fain and International Vice President Chuck Browning announced in a video.

The deal still needs to be reviewed by the UAW National-Ford Council leadership, which will will vote Oct. 29 on whether to send it to the membership. If it does, a Facebook Live event will be held that evening to go through the deal in detail, followed by regional meetings and finally, a vote by members.

"For months we’ve said that record profits mean record contracts. And UAW family, our Stand Up Strike has delivered," Fain said.

Browning called the tentative contract "historic" and "life-changing" before listing the details: a 25% general wage increase over the course of the agreement, a 68% increase in starting pay and a 30% increase in the top pay rate to more than $40 an hour. Temporary workers, who Browning said have "been abused" by Ford, GM and Stellantis for decades, will see a 150% increase in pay over the life of the contract, and some lower-tier workers at Ford's Sterling Axle and Rawsonville facilities will see an immediate 85% increase in pay.

The deal gave back the UAW "core things we had lost over the years," Browning said, including the COLA it gave up in 2009 and the three-year progression it had before the Great Recession, and eliminated "divisive" wage tiers at some facilities.

The deal also adds to the UAW's pension multiplier, providing more for retirement for current retirees, members with pensions and members with 401(k)s, Browning said.

Finally, the deal made "historic advances in job security," Browning said, allowing the UAW the right to strike over plant closures.

"For decades that was an impossible demand, but through the power of the Stand Up strike, we have made it a reality," he said. "That means they can’t keep devastating our communities and closing plants with no consequences. Together, we have made history."

Fain said Ford "knew what was coming for them" if it didn't strike a deal with the UAW, after seeing the strike hit Stellantis' and GM's largest and most profitable plants earlier this week. Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant, which builds heavy duty F-series trucks and full-size SUVs, had already been hit Oct. 11.

Browning said Ford strikers should go back to work before the tentative agreement is approved to keep the pressure on Stellantis and GM. 

"The last thing they want is for Ford to get back to full capacity while they mess around and lag behind," he said.

The Detroit Free Press reported Oct. 26 that UAW negotiators were scheduled to meet with GM in the morning and Stellantis in the afternoon.

Fain concluded the video by pointing out since the strike began Sept. 15, Ford had put 50% more on the bargaining table.

"I want to be clear. We told Ford to pony up and they did," he said. "We won things nobody thought possible."

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