The United Auto Workers union (UAW) said its national negotiators had reached a tentative agreement with Ford.

“We said record profits mean record contracts, and the Stand Up Strike has delivered,” the union told members by email.

UAW president Shawn Fain and vice president Chuck Browning announced the agreement in a video released last night in which they gave an overview of the agreement, while outlining next steps in the ratification process.

Ford CEO and president Jim Farley said in a statement: “We are pleased to have reached a tentative agreement on a new labour contract with the UAW covering our US operations.

“We are focused on restarting Kentucky Truck Plant, Michigan Assembly
Plant and Chicago Assembly Plant, calling 20,000 employees back to work and
shipping our full lineup to our customers again.

“The agreement is subject to ratification by Ford’s UAW-represented employees.

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“Consistent with the ratification process, the UAW will share details with its membership.”

The union said gains in the deal were valued at more than four times the gains from the 2019 contract. It provided more in base wage increases than Ford workers had received in the past 22 years. The agreement granted 25% in base wage increases through April 2028 and cumulatively raiseed the top wage by over 30% to more than US$40 an hour. It also raised the starting wage 68%, to over $28 an hour.

Lowest paid workers at Ford would see a raise of more than 150% over the life of the agreement. Some workers would receive an immediate 85% increase immediately upon ratification.

The UAW said the agreement reinstated major benefits lost during the Great Recession (2007-8), including cost of living allowances and a three year wage progression, “as well as killing divisive wage tiers in the union”.

It improved retirement for current retirees, workers with pensions and those who have 401(k) plans [US personal retirement funds]. It also included a historic right to strike over plant closures, a first for the UAW.

Members would vote to accept the agreement (or not) after review by the UAW-Ford National Council.

“While we’re going through the ratification process, [Fain and Browning] are asking UAW members at Ford to return to work,” the union told members.

“We’re going back to work to keep the pressure on Stellantis and GM. The last thing they want is for Ford to get back to full capacity while they mess around and lag behind.

“The [strike] continues at Stellantis and GM, where we will keep fighting for a fair agreement for every UAW member.”

UAW National-Ford Council leaders will meet on Sunday 29 October to decide if they will send the agreement to members for final approval.