- A new labor contract has been ratified by the members of the United Auto Workers at Ford Motor.
- The deal, akin to GM and Stellantis, includes a minimum wage rise of 25%, and it has been overwhelmingly approved by most Ford facilities.
- The ratification of the contract comes after the tentative agreements reached by automakers and the union, effectively ending a targeted strike by the UAW lasting almost six weeks.
Members of the United Auto Workers union stage a picket outside the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan on September 26, 2023.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Matthew Hatcher | AFP | getty images
DETROIT – The union members at Ford Motor gave their approval to a tentative agreement on Friday, marking the end of contentious negotiations between the United Auto Workers and Detroit automakers.
General Motors workers endorsed an agreement on Thursday, and Stellantis workers also approved their respective agreements, as indicated by the preliminary vote results published on Friday by the union, putting the UAW-Ford workers among the automakers who have ratified their agreements.
According to the UAW’s vote tracker, the Ford deal received the backing of 68.2% of approximately 35,000 Ford autoworkers who participated in the vote. There were still a few small facilities that had not concluded voting, but these locations lacked sufficient staff to make up the difference of more than 12,600 votes.
By Friday afternoon, the local UAW chapter representing all Ford plants, except for a small parts facility in Florida and the automaker’s substantial Kentucky truck plant, had voted in favor of the agreement. The Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan led the way to ratification, with approximately 2,700 members voting in support of the deal, representing 78.7%, according to the union’s vote tracker.
Ford and the UAW did not respond to requests for comment immediately.
Just weeks after automakers and the union reached tentative agreements, effectively ending a nearly six-week targeted strike by the UAW, the contract ratification took place. The strikes commenced on September 15, involving targeted work stoppages that spread from plant to plant as a means of escalating pressure on automakers.
Preliminary results from Stellantis indicated 68.4% support from hourly employees surveyed. At GM, the vote received 54.7% approval.
Due to the workforce demographics of the company, GM’s turnout was relatively close. The automaker has the highest number of traditional workers on a percentage basis compared to its crosstown rivals. These workers have expressed dissatisfaction with the wage increases offered to them by the agreements in comparison to those offered to new hires. They have also been discontented with pension contributions and retirement benefits.
However, the agreements set a record for the union. During the negotiations, the UAW was significantly more confrontational and strategic than it has been in recent history, as promised by UAW President Sean Fain, who assumed the leadership of the union in March.
The agreements entail wage increases of at least 25%, the reinstatement of cost-of-living adjustments, and other economic reforms. The union stated that these reforms are valued at more than four times the gains from the 2019 contract and deliver more base wage increases than workers have received in the past 22 years.
For the union and Fain, the agreement and its associated economic benefits aid efforts to strengthen the union’s ranks through organizing for future jobs, such as at battery plants and other non-union automakers operating in the US.
For companies and their investors, the contracts represent the upper end of projected increases in labor costs.
In October, Ford CFO John Lawler mentioned that if the UAW deal, upon member approval, would add $850 to $900 to costs per vehicle assembled. He stated that Ford will endeavor to “find productivity and efficiency and cost reductions across the company” to counterbalance additional costs and meet previously announced profitability goals.