Discover more from Wonkette
Gee, Guess Stellantis Can Pay Their Workers Fairly After All!
The stand-up strike has brought Stellantis to the table for a tentative deal.
Last week, Ford finally reached a (really great) tentative deal with the United Auto Workers union. This weekend, the UAW announced that they’d also reached a (really great) tentative deal with Stellantis.
In a video posted to social media, UAW President Shawn Fain announced that the union had secured a deal more than double the value of their initial proposal.
Loving this post? Not a free or paid subscriber yet? Let’s fix that!
While all of the details have not yet been revealed, the deal is reportedly very similar to the one struck with Ford. The biggest concession is one that is practically unheard of — the company will be reopening a plant they idled in Belvidere, Illinois, offering those who were laid off their jobs back and hiring enough workers to cover two shifts. Those who lost their jobs will be put on temporary layoff — which in this case is, in fact, a “good time” — and will get SUB-pay and healthcare while they wait for the plant to reopen. The original Belvidere plant will get a new product, a mid-size truck, and the city will also get a new battery plant, which will add about 1,000 new jobs alone.
Stellantis has also agreed not to close a plant in Trenton, Michigan, and to expand one in Toledo, Ohio.
Going into the negotiations, Fain explained, Stellantis was adamant that they were going to cut 5,000 jobs. Not only did they not lose those 5,000 jobs, between Belvidere and Toledo, the union estimates this will create 5,000 new jobs for people. Five thousand (5000!) jobs! Technically 10,0000 jobs! That is a huge, huge deal. Especially given how much people are going to get paid there now.
Not only did the union win the right to strike over plant closures (also a huge deal), they won the right to strike over product and investment — which means they will be able to protect all of the jobs they won.
There will also be significant changes to worker salaries as well. The union won a 25 percent increase over the next four years, which is more than all wage increases, in total, since 2001 (23 percent). With Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), it will likely end up being over 30 percent. The starting rate for workers will be raised 67 percent. Some workers will get an immediate increase of 76 percent. Upon ratification, workers will get an immediate 11 percent increase.
The union also won back a lot of things they gave up over the years to help save the industry — their pre-2009 COLA agreement, their three-year wage progression and an end to “wage tiers.” They got more money for current retirees in their pension plan.
They also got Stellantis to implement major changes to their “temp worker” situation — in which people would work for the company for years as “temps,” allowing them to get paid far less than permanent workers. Current temps will get a raise of 168 percent and there will be an end to the “perma-temps” — with thousands of temporary workers being immediately converted to permanent workers at ratification, and from now on, no one will remain a temp for more than nine months.
Fain notes that the gains they won for temporary workers alone is more than they won for all members, collectively, in the 2019 agreement.
The agreement still needs to be officially approved by the UAW’s Stellantis Council and voted on by members themselves, but the union has asked them to return to work until it is officially ratified (or not, but one would assume it’s pretty definitely gonna be).
As UAW Vice President Rich Boyer notes in the video, this is not just a huge deal for workers, but for their communities, which will get some much needed economic revitalization. So many communities across the United States have just been decimated by manufacturing plant closures and it is wonderful to see some of that being reversed.
And to think of all the “Oh gosh, I don’t know, seems like this Shawn Fain guy is asking for too much! There will be a backlash! The automakers will punish all of the workers for this insolence and take their business to China! Or they’ll punish us all by raising the price of cars so high that no one will be able to buy them, because that’s definitely a great business model!” fear-mongering that started not too long before Ford caved.
People have got to stop fearing that all of the rich people are going to take their toys and move to Galt’s Gulch if they’re not sufficiently venerated. Our economic problems are not caused by poor people asking for too much, they are caused by companies that don’t want to pay their workers enough to participate in the economy on more than a “basic needs” basis. We have done the “austerity for job creators’ sake” model for enough years now that we know it doesn’t work and we know it doesn’t actually keep these companies from raising prices. We also know that our economy very clearly functioned a hell of a lot better for us all when working class people could make enough money to support themselves and their families.
General Motors, by the way, is still holding out — and in response, the union started escalating the strike against them on Saturday night, with 4,000 workers walking out of their plant in Tennessee. Clearly, the union has hit upon something smart with this stand-up strike thing, so it’s hard to imagine they’ll keep trying to worm their way out of it while their competitors get back to work for too much longer.
UPDATE: GM has made an offer