U.S. Auto Workers Union Reaches Preliminary Deal With Ford

The U.S. auto workers union reached a tentative agreement with Ford late Wednesday, a breakthrough in a 41-day stoppage on Detroit's "Big Three" car manufacturers.

The deal, which rank-and-file workers must still approve in a vote, includes a 25% wage increase for hourly employees, the United Auto Workers union said.

Other key elements include guaranteed cost-of-living adjustments, an elimination of different pay levels or "tiers" that disadvantage junior employees, and a right to strike over plant closures.

"For months we've said that record profits mean record contracts," said UAW President Shawn Fain in a statement. "And UAW family, our Stand Up Strike has delivered."

Ford confirmed the agreement, saying "we are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract with the UAW covering our U.S. operations."

Photo: AFP

Also cheering was U.S. President Joe Biden, who hailed an "historic accord," saying "I applaud the UAW and Ford for coming together after a hard-fought, good-faith negotiation and reaching a historic tentative agreement tonight."

Biden made history in September as the first U.S. president to stand on a picket line as he endorsed the UAW's call for "record" contracts in light of record auto industry profits.

The wage increase in the tentative agreement is somewhat lower than the 40% sought by Fain when the UAW launched the strike on September 15 in the first ever simultaneous stoppage of Detroit's Big Three (Ford, General Motors and Stellantis). However, it is much above the 9% increase Ford initially proposed in August.

"This agreement sets us on a new path to make things right at Ford, at the Big Three, and across the auto industry," Fain said, while stressing that the final decision rests with members.

"We're going to let that democratic process take its course," said Fain, calling the rank-and-file "the highest authority."

Fain said the ratification process will include detailed online presentations and regional meetings.

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