Union workers at Ford began voting on the tentative deal reached with the automaker, while Stellantis hourly employees begin voting soon. If the first round of votes are any indication, the membership is pleased with the deal.
All the prep work is complete and now the decision rests in the hands — or votes — UAW members at Ford and Stellantis and early indications they like the deal.
The first Ford plant to go on strike, the Michigan Assembly Plant just outside Detroit, was the first to vote on it. Automotive News reported the tentative deal was approved by 82% voters, including 90% of skilled trades workers. Ford hourly workers will continue voting through Nov. 17.
UAW-represented workers at Stellantis will begin voting soon after senior leadership voted its approval of the deal and to send it to members for a ratification vote. The members received their livestreamed briefing about the deal from union chief Shawn Fain and Rich Boyer, UAW vice president, Thursday, after the vote.
“Rich and I are bringing these contracts to you because we believe we’ve squeezed every dime out of them,” Fain said during the livestream primer on the deal. “Now is the time for debate and discussion.”
Time to vote
It’s expected the Stellantis voting will take about two weeks to complete. Like Ford, Stellantis workers secured a 25% wage increase over the life of the 4.5-year deal, improved retirement benefits, a return of cost-of-living adjustments other improvements.
The union also got about $19 billion in investment commitments from the company, including a pledge to reopen the closed Belvidere (Illinois) plant to build a new midsize pickup truck. Belvidere is expected to build 80,000 to 100,000 midsize trucks annually starting in 2027. Additionally, a $3.2 billion battery plant with an unnamed joint venture partner is slated to open in 2028.
The new investments include $1.5 billion in its Toledo Jeep operations, including building an EV Jeep Wrangler in 2028.
UAW is coming
During the livestream, Fain kept his push on to expand the UAW’s membership ranks. He noted workers at other automakers can now see the impact of a united union in collective bargaining. Fain took aim at Toyota specifically.
He noted the raises and benefit improvements Toyota said it would be giving employees was a result of the hard work of the UAW, reinforcing the point by saying those raises could have been handed out last week, last month or last year — but weren’t.
“They did it now because they know we’re coming for them,” he said, adding, “Toyota workers are watching.”
To ensure he made his point, he went a step further, speaking directly to Toyota hourly employees.
“That pay raise Toyota is giving you is the UAW bump,” he said. “The UAW, that stands for you are welcome. You are welcome to join our stand-up movement.”