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UAW Leaders Approve Ford Motor’s $8.1 Billion Investment Pact

Last updated on October 29, 2023

On Sunday, local United Auto Workers (UAW) union leaders gave their nod to a tentative agreement with Ford Motor. The accord encompasses a substantial $8.1 billion injection into new plant investments by the automaker, $5,000 ratification bonuses, and a host of other favorable economic provisions, including compounded wage hikes of 25% and enhanced profit-sharing arrangements.

This tentative agreement, spanning 4 ½ years, was initially unveiled last Wednesday. It will now be presented to the 57,000 UAW-Ford members for regional information sessions, followed by the voting process. The timeline for the voting process was not disclosed; typically, it takes several weeks to conclude.

In a joint statement featured in a summary of the deal, UAW President Shawn Fain and UAW Vice President Chuck Browning affirmed the historic nature of this contract, emphasizing its potential to bring about transformative changes in the lives of the workforce.

The outline of the tentative agreement was provided by UAW leaders last week. However, the summary and the comprehensive 800-page contract were released on Sunday after receiving approval from local union leaders.

The genesis of this tentative agreement traces back to a series of targeted strikes initiated by the UAW against Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler. These strikes ensued when agreements couldn’t be reached prior to the September 14 deadline.

While the UAW reached a tentative deal with Stellantis on Saturday, negotiations with GM have yet to yield a new agreement, despite the sides being on the brink of a deal last week.

Notable investments under this deal encompass $2.1 billion allocated to Ohio Assembly for the development of current products and a new electric van, $1.2 billion for the creation of a new electric vehicle at Louisville Assembly in Kentucky, which will cater to pickup and SUV production, including hybrid versions of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator. Additionally, there is $1 billion designated for Kansas City Assembly, and $900 million allocated for F-150 production and the creation of a new electric truck.

The 25% wage increases encompass an 11% bump upon ratification, followed by 3% annual increments for the next three years and a 5% raise in October 2027. When combined with benefits such as anticipated cost-of-living adjustments amounting to $8,800, the top wage scale will exceed $40 per hour, with an impressive 68% increase in starting wages to over $28 an hour.

Shawn Fain, UAW President, has affirmed that the union intends to leverage this remarkable contract, alongside agreements with other companies, to bolster its organizing initiatives, not limited to the ‘Big Three’ Detroit automakers.

In addition, the UAW has successfully secured jobs and facilitated streamlined organizing processes at forthcoming battery plants and electric vehicle assembly facilities, including a battery plant under construction in Michigan by the automaker.

A noteworthy alteration in this deal is the extension of its term from four to four and a half years, with the contract slated to expire on April 30, 2028. The rationale behind this shift is to align the contract’s conclusion with May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, observed on May 1. Fain has encouraged other unions to synchronize their deadlines with this period.

Additional perks for union members under the agreement encompass a three-year progression to reach top pay rates, expedited conversion of temporary employees to permanent roles after three months, improved profit-sharing schemes, two weeks of paternity leave, and heightened 401(k) contributions, inclusive of a 10% company contribution equating to approximately $11,000 annually for top-earning employees.

While the deal sets a new record, it falls short of some of the UAW’s initial objectives, including a 40% wage increase during the contract’s tenure, a 32-hour workweek, traditional pensions for all workers, and additional benefits for retirees.

Significant Terms:

  • Ratification Bonuses: A one-time payment offered to employees upon approving a new labor contract.
  • Compounded Wage Increases: Wage hikes that accumulate over time based on a previously agreed-upon formula or percentage.
  • Profit-Sharing Payments: Financial rewards distributed to employees based on a company’s profits.

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