Workers represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union at Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis have voted to ratify the recently proposed contracts following a historic six-week strike that began when the previous contracts expired.
The UAW said on Monday that all of Detroit, Michigan’s Big Three automakers had voted to ratify the proposal after a few rejections at key GM plants last week highlighted the possibility of the contract not passing (via Reuters). According to the union, around 64 percent of employees across the automakers voted to adopt the contract, and its passage officially locks in worker agreements with the UAW through 2028.
“After years of cutbacks, months of our Stand Up campaign, and weeks on the picket line, we have turned the tide for the American autoworker,” said UAW President Shawn Fain in a Monday statement.
The contract offers 25-percent base increases to worker wages, along with gradual increases to top pay by as much as 33 percent, along with additional cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) that amount to over $42 per hour.
Though the union did not win back defined benefit pensions for post-2007 hires, the employer contribution to their 401(k)s is massively boosted to 10%, which will more than double many members’ annual 401(k) contributions over the life of the contract.
— UAW (@UAW) November 20, 2023
GM ratified the labor contract over the weekend, clinching the proposed agreement’s adoption with a much narrower margin of 55 percent voting in favor. By comparison, Ford passed the contract with around 69 percent voting in favor, while roughly 68 percent of Stellantis workers voted to adopt the updated contract.
Ford CEO Jim Farley said on Monday that the automaker is moving to accelerate back to full production capacity in the days to come following the ratification of the UAW agreement.
“Thankfully, we are on track to reach full production schedules in the coming days at our assembly plants in Michigan, Kentucky and Illinois that were affected during the strike,” Farley said on Monday.
The news caps off a long few months of bargaining and strikes for the Big Three and the UAW after the previous labor contracts expired on September 14. Following their expiration, the UAW launched strikes against all three automakers simultaneously, marking the first time in history all three of the companies were targeted at once in strikes.
The strikes lasted over six weeks, with the UAW escalating the labor walkouts multiple times to include several additional facilities. The union reached tentative agreements with each automaker late last month, with the ratification process taking place in the weeks since.
Ford has estimated that the new contract will increase labor costs by around $850 to $900 per vehicle. Amidst whisperings that automakers beyond the Big Three will also feel the labor cost hikes, non-union-represented Hyundai, Toyota and Honda have all raised wages at some U.S. factories.