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Ford and UAW negotiators reach ‘tentative agreement’ to end strike

Ford has reached a “tentative agreement on a new labor contract” with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union for the automaker’s U.S. operations.

The UAW began its strike of the Detroit Three automakers — Ford, Stellantis and General Motors — in mid-September. If successful, Ford will be the first of the three to settle the strikes by 45,000 members.

Ford said it will work on restarting the Kentucky Truck Plant, the Michigan Assembly Plant and the Chicago Assembly Plant, calling 20,000 Ford employees back to work and “shipping our full lineup to our customers again,” according to the company.

Ford’s UAW-represented employees still need to ratify the agreement, but UAW president Shawn Fain seemed optimistic about what he called a “historic victory” during a Facebook Live event Wednesday evening.

Fain said the UAW had taken the strike to a “new phase” this week, hitting the companies with “maximum effect,” which spurred Ford to come to the table.

On Monday, the UAW called members to strike at Stellantis’s Sterling Heights Assembly plant. The following day, they walked out on General Motors’s Arlington Assembly. Fain said the factories were the automakers’ biggest and most profitable plants.

“Ford knew what was coming for them on Wednesday if we didn’t get a deal,” said Fain. “That was checkmate.”

Chuck Browning, UAW’s vice president, called the tentative agreement a “record contract” and “the most lucrative agreement per member since Walter Ruether was president.”

“This deal puts more money on the table than the 2019 agreement, four times over,” said Browning.

The tentative agreement includes a general wage increase of 25% over the life of the contract, with Ford UAW workers seeing an immediate 11% wage hike immediately upon ratification. For the cost of living adjustment, top wage rates will increase to about 33% and the starting wage rate will increase to about 68%.

Temp workers will see raises of over 150% over the life of their contracts. Some workers at the Sterling Axle and Rawsonville plants will see a raise of 85% immediately upon ratification.

Browning said the agreement also includes a three-year progression and kills the device of wage tiers at Sterling Axle and Rawsonville. When it comes to retirement, the agreement would add a pension multiplier and provide more retirement for current retiree members with pensions and 401Ks.

The deal, if ratified, also gives the union the right to strike over plant closures for the first time, according to Browning.

TechCrunch has reached out to Stellantis and GM to learn if they are also close to reaching a tentative agreement with the UAW.

source: TechCrunch