Discover more from Wonkette
United Auto Workers And Ford: LET'S MAKE A DEAL!
Record profits mean a record deal — and that's exactly what they got.
Well, it looks like UAW president Shawn Fain’s strategy is working. After six weeks of rolling strikes, Ford and the union have landed on a tentative deal on a four-year contract that will be officially put in place as soon as the workers vote on it.
The contract includes a 25 percent wage increase over four years, plus an immediate 11 percent wage increase, which on its own is more than the workers have gotten since 2007. It also includes cost of living increases, increased pension and job security, and the right to strike over plant closures, which is a huge deal and something previously considered something of a pie-in-the-sky ask. It means that these companies can’t keep “devastating communities and closing plants without consequences.”
For now, the strikes on Ford are over, putting increased pressure on Stellantis and GM to come to the table with their own offers — which Fain explained was part of the strategy in a Facebook live post on Wednesday evening.
Loving this post? Not a free or paid subscriber yet? Let’s fix that!
Starting wages will rise by 68 percent, while the top wages, with cost of living adjustments (COLA), will increase by about 33 percent, to above $40 an hour. At 40 hours a week that would come out to $83,000, not including overtime and bonuses. Don’t believe us? We have a graphic!
One of the main issues for workers has been the way these companies use “temporary workers” for years instead of just hiring them. Their wages will increase by about 150 percent in total. Lower tier members at Sterling Axle and Rawsonville will get an immediate 85 percent raise upon ratifications.
These terms are not just good for workers, they benefit the surrounding community as well with the infusion of cash and the pressure this will now put on other employers in the area to raise wages as well in order to compete.
The union also won back some concessions that the workers had given up over the years to keep the auto industry from going bankrupt. This includes the COLA increases, which are going back to their 2009 levels, a three year wage progression and the death of the divisive “wage tiers” at Michigan plants Sterling Axle and Rawsonville.
“UAW workers at Ford will receive more in straight general wage increases over the next four and a half years than we have over the last 22 years combined, said UAW vice president Chuck Browning.
“Thanks to the power of our members on the picket line and the threat of strikes to come, we have won the most lucrative agreement since Walter Reuther was president,” Browning continued. Reuther died in 1970, so this is a pretty bold statement.
The big three have said that the strikes and demands will make it difficult for them to compete with non-unionized companies like Tesla, Toyota, and Honda, but UAW leadership has maintained that these contracts will actually help them unionize those companies. Also they can always just pay their CEOs a few million less every year.
Fain attributed the record contract to the strategy of rolling strikes and the addition this week of strikes at two additional GM and Stellantis plants — suggesting that Ford ponied up for fear the same thing could happen to them.
The contract isn’t set just yet. It first has to be approved by the UAW’s National Ford Council and then voted on by members.
So far, Fain has been right about every move he’s made. He said the auto manufacturers could afford more than the “record offers” they were giving, and he was right. He was right about the Stand Up strike strategy, deploying rolling strikes at increasingly necessary plants. The man knows what he’s doing, he knows how to bring the pain, and GM and Stellantis should probably get their own offers together now before they start hurting even more.