The historic motor strike in the United States enters its final stretch. After the agreement in principle reached by Ford with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union on Wednesday, this Saturday it was Stellantis that reached an agreement, also pending ratification by the workers, as announced by the union. The agreement will end a little more than six weeks of strike by some 14,000 workers at Stellantis assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio, and at its parts distribution centers across the country, who will return to work while the vote is taken. agreement.
The double agreement increases pressure on General Motors, which had also brought closer positions with the union, and which remains the only one without reaching an agreement. The negotiations have gone awry at the last moment and the UAW has called the 4,000 workers at the company’s plant in Spring Hill (Tennessee) by surprise, also increasing the pressure in that direction. That plant assembles Cadillac SUV models and manufactures engines that are used to assemble cars in other factories of the group.
Stellantis has matched the minimum wage increase of 25% in four and a half years that the UAW had agreed to with Ford. General Motors has also offered that same raise, which will cumulatively increase the maximum salary by 33% compounded with estimated cost-of-living compensation to more than $42 an hour. Starting pay will increase 67% to more than $30 an hour, and Stellantis’ lowest-paid temporary workers will receive a raise of more than 165% over the life of the agreement, according to the union.
The agreement restores important benefits lost during the Great Recession, including cost-of-living allowances and a three-year pay progression, as well as ending divisive pay levels in the union. Improves retirement for current retirees, workers with pensions, and those with retirement savings plans. Like the agreement with Ford, the Stellantis agreement includes the right to strike in the event of plant closures. It also includes the right to strike over product and investment commitments, a historic first for the union.
“Once again, we have achieved what just a few weeks ago we were told was impossible,” said UAW President Shawn Fain, via video. “At Stellantis, in particular, we have not only secured a record contract, but we have begun to turn the tide of the war against the American working class. Before these negotiations, the company wanted to cut 5,000 jobs at Stellantis. Our strike Stand Up (Get up) has changed that equation. Not only have we not lost those 5,000 jobs, but we have turned the situation around. At the end of this agreement, Stellantis will add 5,000 jobs. “We are truly saving the American dream,” he added.
The Stellantis deal includes concessions on job security, such as keeping an engine plant in Trenton, Michigan, open and making a vehicle at the idled Illinois assembly plant.
In the case of Ford, of which details were provided on Wednesday, the increase is 25% in hourly compensation until April 2028, and with some adjustments for the cost of living it will be more than 30%, until more than 40 dollars an hour. Starting pay increases by 68%, to more than $28 per hour. Ford’s lowest-paid workers will see a raise of more than 150% over the life of the agreement, and some will receive an immediate 85% raise once it is ratified, according to the UAW.
The motor strike began on September 15 with the stoppage of one plant at each of Detroit’s Big Three that employ 14,000 union workers. Among them was Jeep, owned by Stellantis, in Toledo (Ohio), where the Gladiator and Wrangler models come from.
On Friday, September 29, the union leader called 7,000 additional UAW workers to strike at a General Motors factory and another Ford factory in Chicago (Illinois), where the Explorer and Lincoln Aviator models are produced. The following week, Fain recalled nearly 6,000 more workers from 28 Stellantis and GM distribution centers spread across 20 states.
On October 6, Fain announced important progress in the negotiations and renounced extending the strike, but a few days later he surprised by calling a strike at Ford’s most profitable plant, and, earlier this week, at another one. Stellantis. The 6,800 workers at its largest factory in the United States joined the call and unexpectedly paralyzed the Sterling Heights (Michigan) assembly plant, where the RAM 1500 truck is manufactured, a very profitable best-seller for the group.
During the strike, workers received a historic visit from the President of the United States, Joe Biden, to a picket line at a General Motors facility in Belville, Michigan. “Stand firm,” he asked them, megaphone in hand, next to the union leader.
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