Detroit Evening Report: Autoworkers reach tentative deal with Ford

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United Auto Workers members hold picket signs near a General Motors Assembly Plant in Delta Township, Mich., Friday, Sept. 29, 2023.

United Auto Workers members hold picket signs near a General Motors Assembly Plant in Delta Township, Mich., Friday, Sept. 29, 2023.

The United Auto Workers union reached a tentative contract agreement with Ford Motor Company on Wednesday — a deal that could be the momentum needed to end the nearly six-week strikes against Detroit automakers.

UAW President Shawn Fain says targeting individual plants at all of Detroit’s Big Three automakers sent a message to the auto companies, adding that the agreement with Ford is part of a chain-reaction that began with Monday’s strike against Stellantis’ facility in Sterling Heights.  

“That is Stellantis’ biggest and most profitable plant. On Tuesday our UAW family at Arlington Assembly answered the call and they went out on strike, shutting down GM’s biggest and most profitable plant,” Fain said. “Ford knew what was coming for them on Wednesday if we didn’t get a deal. That was checkmate.” 

The four-year contract agreement with Ford includes a 25% wage increase over several years and a faster progression to top pay, which UAW leaders say will be set at about $40 an hour. There are also Cost of living adjustments which the union gave up more than a decade ago when Detroit’s automakers hit financial trouble. UAW Vice President Chuck Browning says bargaining teams also made gains on job security.

“For the first time ever, we have won the right to strike over plant closures,” he said. “For decades that was an impossible demand.”

Union leaders will be in Detroit this weekend to review the proposal before submitting it to rank and file members for a vote to ratify the agreement.

The current UAW strike is now the longest American auto strike in 25 years. The last strike at General Motors in 2019 lasted 40 days.

WDET reporters Quinn Klinefelter and Alex McLenon contributed to this report.

Other headlines for Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023:

  • A new program from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will offer temporary rent aid for eligible refugees and asylees in Michigan.
  • Big Pink Detroit will host three Halloween-themed events this weekend, including a costume contest, Jerk and Jollof night and an LGBTQ+ mixer.
  • The Detroit Public Library will host an All Kids Halloween Parade and Story Time from 3 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28.
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  • Hernz Laguerre
    Hernz Laguerre Jr. is a Multimedia Journalist at 101.9 WDET. He is one of the co-host for "Detroit Evening Report," one of the weekend anchors for "Weekend Edition," the producer for our political podcast, "MichMash," and reports on arts, culture and politics.