The United Auto Workers union said Wednesday it has reached a tentative contract agreement with Ford that could be a breakthrough toward ending the nearly six-week-old strikes against Detroit automakers.
The four-year deal, which still has to be approved by 57,000 union members at the company, could bring a close to the union’s series of strikes at targeted factories run by Ford, General Motors and Jeep maker Stellantis.
The Ford deal could set the pattern for agreements with the other two automakers, although no other agreements were announced.
The union called on all workers at Ford to return to their jobs, and said that will put pressure on GM and Stellantis to bargain.
“We told Ford to pony up, and they did,” President Shawn Fain said in a video address to members. “We won things no one thought possible.” He added that Ford put 50 per cent more money on the table than it did before the strike started on Sept. 15.
Vice-president Chuck Browning, the chief negotiator with Ford, said workers will get a 25 per cent general wage increase, plus cost of living raises that will put the pay increase over 30 per cent, to above $40 per hour.
In a statement confirming the news, Ford CEO and President Jim Farley said: “We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement on a new labour contract with the UAW covering our U.S. operations.”
If the contract is ratified by Ford workers, it would set the standard for bargaining at General Motors and Stellantis and expire on April 30, 2028.
Typically, during past auto strikes, a UAW deal with one automaker has led the other companies to match it with their own settlements.
Previously Ford, Stellantis and General Motors had all offered 23 per cent pay increases.