Oct. 25, 2023 – Today our national negotiators reached a tentative agreement with Ford on a record contract. In a video announcement, UAW President Shawn Fain and International Vice President Chuck Browning gave an overview of the tentative agreement and explained our next steps. Following is a full transcript of their remarks. You can watch the video here.
PRESIDENT FAIN: UAW Family. I’m excited and honored to be joined today by Vice President Chuck Browning as we announce a major victory in the Stand Up Strike: Today, we reached a tentative agreement with Ford.
For months we’ve said that record profits mean record contracts. And UAW family, our Stand Up Strike has delivered.
What started at three plants at midnight on September 15, has become a national movement.
We knew we were getting close, but we also knew the companies needed a major push if we were going to make sure we got every penny possible in this agreement.
So we took our strike to a new phase and hit the companies with maximum effect.
On Monday, we called on our UAW family at Sterling Heights Assembly to stand up. That is Stellantis’s 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.
Ford knew what was coming for them on Wednesday if we didn’t get a deal. That was Checkmate.
On day 40 of the Stand Up strike, we reached a historic agreement.
As you know, in our union, the members are the highest authority.
That means we have a process for rolling out the details of the agreement, and making sure every member gets a chance to make an informed decision.
So here are the next steps.
First, we have reached a tentative agreement with Ford.
Next, your elected leadership in the UAW National-Ford Council is going to come to Detroit and on Sunday, October 29, they will vote on whether to send the agreement to the membership.
If the Council votes to approve the agreement, then that evening we will be hosting a special Facebook Live with all of you to go through the deal in detail.
Your national negotiators and staff are working tirelessly right now to get the highlighter, the change pages, and White Book together.
Our goal is to have those ready and available digitally for all of you to access online on Sunday night.
Following the Council vote and the Facebook Live, we’ll hold regional meetings to walk through the agreement with local leadership, and then locals will hold informational meetings to get your questions answered.
After that, it’ll be up to the members to vote on the deal.
We’re going to let that democratic process take its course.
But we also wanted to provide you with some key takeaways of this historic agreement.
VICE PRESIDENT BROWNING: Our union has united in a way we haven’t seen in years. From the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, our members came together to tell the Big Three with one voice that record profits mean a record contract.
Thanks to the power of our members on the picket line and the threat of more strikes to come, we have won the most lucrative agreement per member since Walter Reuther was president.
Between wage increases, COLA, annual bonuses to retirees and other economic gains, there is more value for our members in each individual year of this agreement than the entirety of the 2019 agreement.
This deal puts more money on the table than the 2019 agreement four times over.
So when we say historic, we mean it.
This contract is going to be life changing.
We have won a 25% general wage increase over the course of this agreement.
With COLA, we expect the top rate to increase by over 30 percent, to above $40 an hour. Our starting rate will rise 68 percent.
For decades, temps at the big three have been abused and exploited. Over the life of the contract, temps will see raises of over 150%!
Some of our lower-tier members at Sterling Axle and Rawsonville will see an immediate 85% raise upon ratification.
UAW members at Ford will receive more in straight general wage over the next four and a half years than we have over the last 22 years combined.
At ratification, Ford workers will receive an immediate 11% wage increase. That’s almost equal to ALL the wage increases since 2007 combined.
We also won back some core things that we had lost over the years.
We have won back our 2009 COLA.
We have won back our 3-year progression from before the Great Recession.
We have killed the divisive wage tier at Sterling Axle and Rawsonville.
We have finally added to our pension multiplier, and provided more for retirement for current retirees, members with pensions, and members with 401(k)s.
And on top of that we made historic advances in job security.
For the first time ever, we won the right to strike over plant closures.
For decades that was an impossible demand, but through the power of the Stand Up strike, we have made it a reality.
That means they can’t keep devastating our communities and closing plants with no consequences.
Together, we have made history.
PRESIDENT FAIN: When we say we made history, we don’t just mean me and Chuck and our national negotiators. We mean we, the UAW.
We mean the Stand Up Strikers of Local 900 Michigan Assembly who took our first step.
Our family at Local 551 Chicago Assembly who brought the noise.
And our brothers and sisters at Kentucky Truck Plant Local 862, who landed the biggest blow.
Everything we did at the bargaining table, every extra hundred million we got the company to give up, was because of you, the members.
And the next steps are also up to you – because the members are the highest authority in our union.
We send this contract to you because we know it breaks records.
We know it will change lives.
But what happens next is up to you all.
VICE PESIDENT BROWNING: Here’s the next phase in our Stand Up Strike.
We are calling on all Ford strikers to go back to work while we vote on our tentative agreement.
Like everything we’ve done in this Stand Up Strike, this is a strategic move to get the best deal possible.
We’re going back to work at Ford 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.
PRESIDENT FAIN: Members are the highest authority, and YOU decide what happens next, not us.
VICE PESIDENT BROWNING: So now that we’ve announced a tentative agreement, or TA, we will be bringing the UAW National Ford Council to Detroit.
This is our union’s democracy at work.
The Ford Council is the next line in the chain after our national negotiators.
They’ll review the details of the agreement and vote on whether to send it to the full membership in the next several days.
PRESIDENT FAIN: Following the vote of the Council we’ll put the full change pages and the contract highlights online and we’ll hold a Facebook Live to dig into the details.
After that, the members vote.
I want to be clear. We told Ford to pony up and they did.
We won things nobody thought possible. Since the strike began, Ford put 50 percent MORE on the table than when we walked out.
This agreement sets us on a new path to make things right at Ford, at the Big Three, and across the auto industry.
Together, we are turning the tide for the working class in this country.
But the decision isn’t up to us. Every UAW member at Ford will get a vote on this deal, and the majority rules.
So we’ll go through our process, we’ll discuss and debate, and we’ll move forward together. As a united UAW, back in the fight to save the American dream.