United Auto Workers (UAW) and Ford reached a tentative labor agreement Wednesday, the union announcedending six weeks of strikes at the company.
The four-year, tentative deal includes a 25 percent wage increase over the course of the contract, with 11 percent coming in the first year. Cost of living increases could lift the pay raises to 33 percent, the union said.
“Today, we reached a tentative agreement with Ford,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a video message Wednesday. “For months, we said record profits meant record contracts. And UAW family, our Stand Up Strike has delivered.”
The UAW struck at three Ford facilities, sending more than 16,000 Ford workers to picket lines including at its largest and most profitable factory; the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.
The union is also striking General Motors and Stellantis — which together with Ford make up the “Big Three” automakers — though negotiations are ongoing with the other firms.
“I want to be clear. We told Ford to pony up and they did. We won things nobody thought was possible,” Fain said. “This agreement sets us on a new path to make things right at Ford at the Big Three and across the auto industry. Together, we are turning the tide for the working class in this country.”
Other points of the tentative Ford deal include raising wages faster, meaning workers can reach the highest wage level in three years instead of eight, as well as increasing company contributions to worker pensions.
The most senior autoworkers will earn as much as $40 per hour, the union said, up from $32 per hour in the current, expired labor agreement.
UAW Ford employees will go back to work pending the tentative deal. The UAW’s 57,000 Ford members must approve the agreement with a majority vote for the contract to go into place.
“We’re going back to work at Ford to keep the pressure on Stellantis and GM,” Fain said. “The last thing they want is for Ford to get back to full capacity while they mess around and lag behind.”
Ford confirmed the deal in a statement late Wednesday.
“Ford is proud to assemble the most vehicles in America and employ the most hourly autoworkers,” the company said. “We are focused on restarting Kentucky Truck Plant, Michigan Assembly Plant and Chicago Assembly Plant, calling 20,000 Ford employees back to work and shipping our full lineup to our customers again.”
A Ford deal could force other automakers to the negotiating table, using the tentative deal as a template, as has happened in previous strikes.
The UAW ratcheted up the pressure on GM and Stellantis this week, sending nearly 12,000 more workers at the two companies to picket lines. GM announced third-quarter earnings of $3.5 billion on Tuesday.
“Another record quarter, another record year,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a statement Tuesday. “As we’ve said for months: record profits equal record contracts. It’s time GM workers, and the whole working class, get their fair share.”
More than 45,000 of the union’s nearly 150,000 members at the three companies are on strike nationwide.