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Autoworkers vote in favour of contracts with Ford, Stellantis

The United Auto Workers union ratified new contracts with Ford and Stellantis that, along with a similar deal with General Motors, will raise pay across the industry, force automakers to absorb higher costs and help reshape the auto business as it shifts away from gasoline-fuelled vehicles.

UAW members at GM accepted a similar contract earlier this week

A file photo shows a sign bearing the Ford logo, outside of a Chicago assembly plant.

The United Auto Workers union ratified new contracts with Ford and Stellantis that, along with a similar deal with General Motors, will raise pay across the industry, force automakers to absorb higher costs and help reshape the auto business as it shifts away from gasoline-fuelled vehicles.

Workers at Stellantis, the maker of Jeep, Dodge and Ram vehicles, voted 68.8 per cent in favour of the deal. Their approval brought to a close a contentious labour dispute that included name-calling and a series of punishing strikes that imposed high costs on the companies and led to significant gains in pay and benefits for UAW workers.

The deal at Stellantis passed by a roughly 10,000-vote margin, with ballot counts ending Saturday afternoon.

Workers at Ford voted 69.3 per cent in favour of the pact, which passed with nearly a 15,000-vote margin in balloting that ended early Saturday.

Earlier this week, GM workers narrowly approved a similar contract.

The agreements, which run through April 2028, will end contentious talks that began last summer and led to six-week-long strikes at all three automakers.

Summer negotiations had failed

Shawn Fain, the pugnacious new UAW leader, branded the companies as enemies of the UAW led by overpaid CEOs as he declared the days of union co-operation with the automakers were over.

After summer-long negotiations failed to produce a deal, Fain kicked off strikes on Sept. 15 at one assembly plant at each company. The union later extended the strike to parts warehouses and other factories to try to intensify pressure on the automakers until tentative agreements were reached late in October.

The new contract agreements were widely seen as a victory for the UAW.

The companies agreed to dramatically raise pay for top-scale assembly plant workers, with increases and cost-of-living adjustments that will translate into 33 per cent wage gains. Top assembly plant workers are to receive immediate 11 per cent raises and will earn roughly $42 US an hour when the contracts expire in April 2028.

Under the agreements, the automakers also ended many of the multiple tiers of wages they had used to pay different workers.

They also agreed in principle to bring new electric-vehicle battery plants into the national union contract. This provision will give the UAW an opportunity to unionize the EV battery plants, which will represent a rising share of industry jobs in the years ahead.

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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