About 8,000 UAW-represented Ford employees received “a substantial raise” this past Labor Day (4 September).

On average, these employees now earn US$4.33 more per hour, or US $9,000 a year, Ford said, adding the increase could top $10,000 a year with overtime.

The pay hikes were negotiated by Ford and the UAW in the last round of contract negotiations in 2019 to shorten the time it takes workers to reach the average top wage rate of $32 an hour.

This year’s rather acrimonious talks are ongoing with no resolution in sight.

Ford manufacturing VP Bryce Currie said: “The negotiating teams nicknamed this deal ‘23 Jump Street’ because in 2023 a significant number of UAW-Ford team members would see a jump in pay. And we are offering further improvements in the next contract.”

Normally, growing into the top wage rate takes eight years, but with this agreement, 8,000 employees reached the top wage rates with as little as four years on the job.

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The top wage rate differs by the specific type of job an employee does. On average, it is $32 per hour. With this move, 80% of all Ford’s UAW-represented hourly employees are now at the top wage rate. Those at the top wage rate are earning higher wages than 90% of all hourly employees in the US auto industry, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Permanent hourly manufacturing employees were eligible for the pay increase if they were hired prior to the 2019 contract effective date and were earning at least $24.40 per hour as of 1 September, 2023.

Employees will see the pay increase in their next paystubs.

Ford claimed to have has exceeded its job and investment commitments for the last three contracts, recently creating or retaining 5,600 jobs beyond 8,500 committed and investing $1.4bn beyond $6bn committed in the 2019 contract.

The company said it converted 14,100 employees from temporary employment to full time permanent roles during the past four years – most ahead of schedule – and made all new hourly employees eligible for health care benefits from their first day on the job from 13 June, 2022.

Ford added it launched a $1bn five year plan to upgrade the workplace experience in its plants, starting in 2022, providing better food service, mother’s stations and upgraded restrooms.