- The United Auto Workers 44-day strike against Stellantis ended Saturday after the automaker agreed to the same collective bargaining terms as Ford Motor.
- The reportedly four-and-a-half-year agreement, subject to ratification by Stellantis’ 43,000 UAW-represented employees in the U.S., raises autoworkers’ base wages 25%.
- UAW-represented Stellantis employees will vote on the agreement in the coming days.
The UAW has steadily ratcheted up the pressure on Stellantis through targeted strikes at the automaker’s most profitable assembly plants and by playing the Detroit Three automakers off each other in negotiations. When the UAW strike started Sept. 15, approximately 5,500 workers struck the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, which assembles the popular Jeep Wrangler.
Then, after weeks of tense negotiations, about 6,800 UAW-represented autoworkers on Tuesday launched a surprise strike at the automaker's highly profitable Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan, shutting down production of Stellantis’ best-selling model, the Ram 1500 pickup truck.
Once Ford and the UAW struck a deal Wednesday, Stellantis and the UAW began intensive negotiations to hammer out the final details of an agreement, according to news reports. This weekend, they made a deal.
“Once again, we achieved what just weeks ago, we were told was impossible,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a social media video Saturday. “We have begun to turn the tide on the war on the American Working class, and we truly are saving the American dream.”
“We have won a record-breaking contract. We truly believe that we got every penny possible out of this company,” Fain said. “We left nothing on the table.”
Now that they’ve reached a tentative deal, the UAW National Stellantis Council will meet in Detroit on Thursday to review it and vote to send the agreement to members for approval.
The union, meanwhile, said Stellantis workers will return to work while the deal goes through ratification. If the council approves the offer, the UAW plans to host a Facebook Live event on Thursday, followed by in-person events with union locals, to review the terms of the deal with its members. UAW-represented Stellantis employees will then vote on the deal.
Under the tentative agreement, UAW-represented autoworkers at Stellentis at the top of the pay scale would earn more than $40 per hour by the end of the contract, a total pay increase of over 30%. Similarly, entry-level autoworkers would get a 67% increase over the previous collective bargaining agreement. Some current Stellantis temps will also get raises up to 168%.
All Stellantis autoworkers will get at least an 11% wage increase upon ratification, with some Mopar workers getting a 76% raise.
The agreement also reduces the time needed to reach the top of the wage scale from eight to three years.
The deal restores cost-of-living allowances, ends tiered wages and boosts retirement benefits for current retirees, workers with pensions and those with 401(k) plans.
It also ends long-lasting temporary employment for Stellantis autoworkers. After ratification, all temporary employees will become permanent. In addition, Stellantis may not employ temporary workers for more than nine months.
“The days of low-wage, unstable jobs at the Big Three are coming to an end,” Fain said.
The agreement also includes the right to strike over future plant closures, as well as product and investment, the UAW said. Fain called it the union’s “most powerful tool” to protect jobs.
Stellantis will also build a midsize truck at its now dormant assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois, and build a new electric vehicle battery plant nearby that will add about 1,000 jobs, UAW Vice President Rich Boyer said in the video.
In addition, more than 1,200 employees who lost their jobs at the Belvidere Assembly Plant after Stellantis shut it down in February will return to being temporarily laid off, providing them with partial pay and health insurance, Boyer said.
Fain said Stellantis would add 5,000 UAW-represented jobs by the end of the agreement instead of eliminating 5,000 jobs, as the automaker originally planned.
On top of that, Stellantis will retain all employees at the Trenton Engine Complex in Michigan, which employs about 760 workers, and double employment at the Toledo Machining Plant in Perrysburg, Ohio, which has over 480 employees. Both plants had been “on the chopping block” but will get new product commitments, Boyer said.
Stellantis agreed to almost $19 billion in new investments, Boyer said.
“We look forward to welcoming our 43,000 employees back to work and resuming operations,” Stellantis North America COO Mark Stewart said in an emailed statement.
The automaker said it would not comment further on the tentative agreement until the UAW ratifies it.
The UAW also launched a surprise strike against GM’s largest facility on Saturday when 4,000 workers walked off the job at the automaker’s Spring Hill Manufacturing plant in Tennessee. The Spring Hill plant builds the Cadillac XT5, XT6 and Lyriq EV, as well as the GMC Acadia.
It also assembles propulsion systems for GM’s highly profitable large trucks, potentially causing massive financial losses for the automaker.
The strike is likely an attempt to push GM to make a deal with the UAW following the union’s tentative agreements with Ford and Stellantis.
”We are disappointed by GM’s unnecessary and irresponsible refusal to come to a fair agreement,” UAW President Shawn Fain told Reuters in a statement.
GM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.