"... the tentative contracts at Ford and Stellantis would mark the union’s biggest gains in decades."
"To forge its militant strategy, Shawn Fain and the union tore a page from the playbook of labor leader Walter Reuther, who led the UAW from 1946 until his death in 1970. Reuther believed that workers deserved a fair share of corporate abundance – just like shareholders and customers." - Fortune
President Biden congratulated the union and Stellantis on “a historic agreement that will guarantee workers the pay, benefits, dignity and respect they deserve.” The tentative contract, he said, “is a testament to the power of unions and collective bargaining to build strong middle-class jobs while helping our most iconic American companies thrive.” - Vanity Fair
What's in the agreement? How did the strike expand over time? Check this infographic.
What did UAW members gain?
"Ford’s tentative labor agreement includes a 25% wage increase over the next 4 ½ years, as well as the restoration of a cost-of-living allowance the UAW lost in 2009. The tentative agreement also will convert many temporary workers to full-time status, higher pay for temps in general, the right to go on strike over plant closures, and significant increases in Ford’s contributions to its defined-contribution retirement plans.
The Stellantis agreement also has provisions regarding specific North American plants, including the plant Stellantis had idled earlier in 2023 in Belvidere, Illinois, the UAW said. Stellantis has promised to add 5,000 new jobs at Belvidere and other factories over the next four years, in stark contrast to its previous intention to cut that many jobs during the same period. " - Fortune
"The proposed contract also offers a $5,000 ratification bonus, a bump in the 401(k) contribution from 6.4% to 10% for production workers and other perks, such as a $1,500 car voucher toward a new vehicle purchase." - WSJ
The power of union organizing
After decades of making concessions to their employers, the union’s demands for pay increases and better benefits exceed what some automotive industry executives say are reasonable. Unless the two sides reach an agreement by midnight on Sept. 14, 2023, 97% of the 150,000 UAW members employed by the three companies have authorized their leaders to call a strike.
In 1945, a year before he became the UAW’s longest-serving president, Reuther led 320,000 GM workers on a 113-day strike that ended with pay raises, overtime compensation and paid vacation days. The way he spelled out the philosophy behind the strike helped inspire the workers’ confidence.
After autoworkers had done their part to win World War II, Reuther later said, they struck for “the right of a worker to share – not as a matter of collective bargaining muscle, but as a matter of right – to share in the fruits of advancing technology.” Like many of Reuther’s poignant comments, those words still resonate today." - The Conversation.
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What was the UAW strike for?
"The "Big Three" automakers have made $21 billion in the first six months of 2023. Corporate CEO pay went up 40%.
Corporations talk about how workers being treated fairly is going to drive up the cost of vehicles.
In the last four years, the cost of vehicles went up 30%; our wages went up 6%.
This boils down to one thing: It's corporate greed. It's not our contracts, it's not our members' demands.
Either you stand for a billionaire class where everybody else gets left behind, or you stand for the working class" - Shawn Fain
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” - Frederick Douglas
TakeAway: Organize to fight for your rights.
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