After an arduous 44-day strike action that rocked Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers, Stellantis and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union have finally hammered out a preliminary agreement on a new labor contract. This breakthrough agreement follows a similar deal made earlier with Ford, marking a significant moment for the American working class.
The UAW President, Shawn Fain, expressed his satisfaction with the preliminary agreement, emphasizing its positive impact on the American working class. Fain stated, “Once again, we have achieved what just weeks ago we were told was impossible. We have begun to turn the tide in the war on the American working class.” This sentiment highlights the significance of this agreement in restoring the rights and dignity of workers.
The tentative labor contract outlines a 25 percent raise in base wages by 2028, which will be further bolstered by cost-of-living adjustments. The cumulative effect of these adjustments will increase the top wage to over $42 per hour, a 33 percent rise. While the wage increase falls short of the UAW’s initial demand of 40 percent, it is a substantial improvement from the mere 9 percent offered by Ford at the onset of the strike.
Moreover, the agreement includes a promising resolution to job security concerns. Fain announced that Stellantis will add approximately 5,000 jobs during the contract period, signaling a notable change in direction from the automaker’s prior inclination towards downsizing. This development underscores the commitment of both parties to preserving and expanding employment opportunities.
Agreement Approval Process
Similar to the Ford agreement, the tentative deal between Stellantis and the UAW is subject to ratification by UAW members through a vote. While this process is underway, striking Stellantis workers, alongside their Ford counterparts, will return to work, ensuring a seamless resumption of operations.
Acknowledging the significance of the deal, President Joe Biden commended the efforts of both parties and their commitment to workers’ well-being. President Biden stated, “I applaud the UAW and Stellantis for coming together after hard fought, good faith negotiations to reach a historic agreement that will guarantee workers the pay, benefits, dignity, and respect they deserve.” This recognition from the highest office in the United States reflects the importance of this agreement within the broader context of labor rights and economic justice.
Although Stellantis and Ford have successfully reached agreements, General Motors (GM) remains the only automaker without a tentative deal. While the UAW has progressively targeted an increasing number of factories in its strike strategy, the absence of a resolution with GM leaves an unfinished chapter in the unions’ struggle. Nevertheless, the Stellantis agreement demonstrates the potential for positive outcomes and may serve as a catalyst for further negotiations with GM.
As the UAW announced the promising Stellantis deal, workers at GM’s Spring Hill assembly plant in Tennessee declared their own strike action. Additionally, a strike was initiated earlier in the week at GM’s Arlington factory in Texas. These actions reinforce the determination of workers to fight for their rights and secure improved conditions across the automotive industry.
The striking partnership between Stellantis and the UAW marks a significant turning point in the fight for fair labor practices and workers’ rights. The preliminary labor contract, with its wage increase and job security provisions, reflects a renewed commitment to the wellbeing and livelihoods of American workers. As the ratification process begins, the impact of this agreement resonates beyond Stellantis and serves as a guiding light for the next phase of negotiations with General Motors. The resilience and unity displayed by the UAW and its members demonstrate their dedication to improving the lives of workers across the entire automotive industry.