Ford workers on Friday evening adopted a labor contract described as “historic” by negotiators on both sides of the wage fight, marking the automaker’s official end to costly disruptions that began two months ago with targeted strikes against the Detroit Three.
With preliminary vote totals reported on the Ford UAW tracking site as of 9:10 p.m., the contract was ratified by 69.3 percent, or 26,697 of the 35,522 votes cast. Ultimately, 11,825 UAW members voted no to the Ford deal. The contract represents approximately 57,000 UAW members employed at Ford.
Tony Richard, co-chairman of the UAW-Ford National Negotiating Committee, told the Detroit Free Press Friday evening: “I think we have made historic gains for our UAW members. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to get these types of gains. The time had come. Then we left it up to the members and the members decided. We went with the flow…”
Richard, who as president of UAW Local 600 in Dearborn represents approximately 9,000 Ford employees, has been with Ford for 47 years. He started as a line assembler at Dearborn Assembly in 1977.
He said his members felt good. “They are happy that we were able to come together and resolve this issue.”
Voting ended with ballots cast by a handful of Ford locations across the country, including workers at the Dearborn truck plant, where the best-selling F-150 pickup is built. They voted in favor of ratifying the contract with 78.7% of the votes, or 2,697 of the 3,496 votes cast. The plant employs 5,114 hourly workers, according to Ford data available Friday.
The UAW said it plans to release the official vote totals for all 56 Ford locations early Saturday. Mathematically, ratification passed immediately after Dearborn Truck’s results came in.
Ford and the union declined to comment Friday ahead of the official vote count and UAW news release.
While Ford was the first to reach a tentative agreement, General Motors workers voted more quickly to ratify it. Ford has the largest number of UAW members among the Detroit Three. The total number of workers fluctuates depending on the season and production schedules.
Where the vote failed
The Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, which makes the Super Duty, Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator pickup trucks, was the only Ford vehicle production site to reject ratification. He failed by 370 votes. Of a total of 4,118 votes cast, 54.5%, or 2,244, voted no. Nearly 9,000 workers went on strike and less than half of them voted.
UAW Local 862 President Todd Dunn blamed the low turnout on “apathy and complacency,” assuming ratification would be approved. He also said Friday that inaccurate social media posts had led people astray and that former workers felt they were being offered too few retirement deals. In one unit, Dunn told the Free Press, only 10 percent of workers voted because they indicated they didn’t think their support was necessary.
The only other Ford location to vote against the contract was Lakeland HVC, a parts and accessories depot located in Davenport, Florida, with 30 total votes.
The gains from the deal are valued at more than four times the gains from the UAW’s last contract in 2019, and provide for higher base pay increases than Ford workers have received over the past 22 years. the UAW said in a press release.
Ford contract: salaries and benefits improve
The Ford-UAW deal includes: A cumulative top wage increase of more than 30% to more than $40 an hour, a starting wage increase of 68%, to more than $28 an hour . And restore major benefits lost during the Great Recession, including cost-of-living allowances (COLAs). The deal also removes different pay rates, or levels, for workers. Improve retirement benefits for current retirees, workers with pensions, and those with 401K plans.
UAW President Shawn Fain and UAW Vice President Chuck Browning posted a letter on the union’s website that said:
- “Our lowest paid members will receive a 150% raise through this agreement. This is not a typo. Temps hired this year at $16.67 will earn more than $40 an hour in wages base at the end of this agreement, which is over $42 per hour with an estimated COLA.
- Lower-level members at Sterling Axle (in Sterling Heights) and Rawsonville (in Ypsilanti) will see immediate increases ranging from 53% to 88%. A member with three years of seniority in these facilities will, upon ratification, increase from $18.96 to $35.58.
- With COLA, by 2028 we will have a maximum hourly rate of more than $42 per hour for production and more than $50 for skilled trades, an increase of more than 30%. At the end of this agreement, our starting rate will reach $30 per hour with COLA. »
General Motors and Stellantis move forward
On Thursday, UAW members voted to ratify their contract with General Motors, according to the UAW tracker. The agreement representing about 46,000 GM workers at 50 sites was adopted by 3,409 votes. 35,957 workers voted in favor, with 54.7% or 19,683 people voting yes.
Workers at Stellantis, which owns Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram, are expected to finish voting shortly. This interim contract represents approximately 43,000 UAW workers.
Marick Masters, a labor relations expert who teaches at the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University in Detroit, said, “The ratification of these contracts is an important step in the UAW’s attempt to reshape its future.” . The UAW secured ratification of record contracts and, in doing so, reestablished its commitment to paying greater attention to the rank and file in a more democratic way.
Shortly after the UAW announced these tentative agreements, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai announced wage increases for their non-union U.S. workers.
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