Significant Gains Expected for Auto Workers
- The United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative labor contract with Ford.
- If ratified, the contract would result in significant gains for unionized auto workers.
- The deal includes a 25% pay increase over the four-year contract period.
- Cost-of-living adjustments that had been previously suspended will be reinstated.
- New workers will have a quicker path to reach the highest wage of $40 per hour for assembly workers.
The United Auto Workers union recently announced it has reached a tentative labor contract with Ford that, if approved, will bring significant benefits for unionized auto workers. The tentative deal features a 25% pay increase that will be implemented over four years as well as reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments which were suspended previously. Furthermore, this deal provides new workers a faster timeline towards reaching the highest hourly pay scale offered – $40 an hour for assembly workers – by contract’s conclusion.
This development follows weeks of picketing by the United Auto Workers against Detroit’s Big Three automakers – Ford, GM and Stellantis – led by fiery President Shawn Fain and using targeted strikes as part of an unconventional tactic known as disruptive disruption that began small but spread progressively throughout various auto plants; its aim being maximum disruption for carmakers.
Over the course of the six-week strike, tensions rose between Fain and the CEOs of automakers; Fain accused them of belonging to an out-of-touch billionaire class that did not understand working-class individuals’ daily struggles. Automakers countered by asserting that Fain’s demands were unreasonable while warning of how rising labor costs could undermine global competitiveness of U.S. auto industry.
Fain is proud of how successful the UAW’s strategy has been, noting how unlikely victories were achieved during contract negotiations for their new deal.
Fain must now convince local UAW leaders of his claims about Ford’s contract, then hold a majority vote among union-represented workers to determine if it will be approved.
Looking ahead, the UAW will now turn its attention to negotiations with General Motors (GM) and Stellantis (STLS). Now that Ford’s contract has been secured, negotiations must now take place with these other automakers on similar terms.
As part of its strategy to put pressure on GM and Stellantis, the UAW has proposed strikes at two highly profitable plants operated by them: one located in Michigan – Stellantis Ram – and the other one, operated by GM in Texas that produces large SUVs such as Cadillac Escalades.
At its core, the UAW’s groundbreaking agreement with Ford contributes to an upsurge in organized labor victories this year across various industries; including victories won by UPS workers or Hollywood writers. Strikes and negotiations underway could have significant ramifications for both the future of U.S. auto manufacturing as a whole as well as its labor movement as a whole.