The United Auto Workers on Monday confirmed that members at General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Stellantis NV have ratified record four-and-a-half-year agreements, securing wage increases, investment commitments and more for 146,000 members.
Hourly workers at Ford, the first to reach a deal with the union, supported the agreement by more than 69%. At Stellantis, it was 70%. Hourly employees at General Motors Co., the last to reach an agreement, passed the deal by almost 55%. That averages out to 64% across all three, according to the UAW.
“The members have spoken. 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,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a statement. “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 ratification averts the potential for another strike after workers at certain plants were on the picket line for as many as 46 days from Sept. 15 to Oct. 30. The targeted strike sought to keep the companies off-balance knowing a plant could go out at any time while preserving the union's Strike and Defense Fund.
The negotiations brought gains that include 27% general wage increases over the agreement's life that expires on April 30, 2028; ensured the return of benefits lost during the Great Recession such as cost-of-living adjustments; and secured pathways for the organization of battery plants under the master agreements.
Ratification bonuses of $5,000 will be paid out to workers on Dec. 1, Ford and Stellantis confirmed. GM hasn't provided its workers a date. Language in the contract, however, says it "will be made in the second pay period following receipt by the Company of written notification of ratification of this Agreement." That date would be Dec. 1.
Immediately upon ratification, there are 11% general wage increases, though some workers will see even more. The agreement drops the timeline to get to top pay to three years from eight, requires temporary and supplemental workers convert to full-time after nine months on the job and increases their pay to $21 per hour from less than $17.
Lower-paid workers at parts distribution centers and other component plants also are being brought up to production wages. At GM, the agreement brings lower-paid GM Subsystems LLC workers as well as Ultium Cells LLC battery-plant workers under the master agreement.
With reinstituted COLA that were suspended in 2009, the union estimates the top wages at the companies will rise 33% to more than $42 per hour in the fall of 2027. The starting wage will increase by 67% compounded with estimated COLA, to more than $30 an hour.
There also are billions of dollars in product commitments. Stellantis' deal includes$19 billion in U.S. investments, including allocating a midsize truck to the idled Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois as well as committing to building a battery plant there. Ford says it will invest $8.1 billion in its UAW-represented plants. There also is $1.94 billion in never-before announced investments by GM.
Last month, the Blue Oval characterized the agreement as adding $850 to $900 more in costs per vehicle, though it said it still will be profitable and is looking to absorb that increase.
"Ford believes in rewarding all of our people and growing the middle class in America — and we have shown that with our actions over many years," Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. "It’s also imperative that we continue to attack cost and waste throughout our operations. 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 added that the company expects its assembly plants that were affected in the strike to return to full production scheduled "in the coming days." He says he'll be meeting with workers during plant visits in the coming days and months as Ford refreshes about half of its U.S. volume in 2024, including the Ranger, the F-150, their Raptor models, the Expedition, the Explorer, the Lincoln Navigator and the Lincoln Aviator.
"We are entering one of our biggest-ever new product launch years in the U.S.," Farley said. "We need to deliver these new vehicles on time and with top quality. This is critical!!"
Gerald Johnson, GM's executive vice president of global manufacturing and sustainability, said in a video message posted on Monday that he looks forward to hearing from employees on future plant visits about how to work together as a team to meet the automaker's production and EV transition goals that he noted would be under an "aggressive schedule" to meet demand.
“We are pleased," GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement, "our team members have ratified the new agreement that rewards our employees, protects the future of the business and allows us to continue to provide good jobs in communities across the U.S. We can now move forward as one team doing what we do best — delivering great products for our customers and winning together.”
Likewise, Mark Stewart, Stellantis' chief operating office in North America, on Saturday said in a statement: “With negotiations now officially behind us, we will focus our full attention on executing our Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan and serving our customers by delivering the high quality products and technologies they want and expect, especially as we prepare to launch eight all-new electric vehicles in the U.S. market in 2024."
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