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Ford, UAW negotiators reach tentative labour deal

Total economic losses from the US auto workers’ strike have reportedly reached US$9.3 billon. (AP pic)

WASHINGTON: Ford Motor and United Auto Workers (UAW) union negotiators reached a tentative labour deal after a six-week strike, UAW president Shawn Fain said on Wednesday, a 4-1/2-year contract that would provide a record pay boost.

The deal, which needs approval by union leaders and members, would be the first settlement of strikes by 45,000 workers against Ford, General Motors and Chrysler parent Stellantis that began Sept 15.

Fain said the UAW reached a historic agreement with Ford, including 25% wage increase over the life of the contract.

If the contract is ratified by Ford workers, it would set the standard for bargaining at General Motors and Stellantis and expire on April 30, 2028.

The Ford contract would give UAW workers a record boost in pay and reverse concessions the union agreed to in a series of contracts since 2007, when GM and the former Chrysler were skidding toward bankruptcy, and Ford was mortgaging its assets to stay afloat.

“This lays the groundwork for the next two contracts and they should fall in line fairly quickly because all three were within a narrow gap of each other,” Sam Fiorani, vice-president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions.

“The strike so far has been painful for everybody and knowing what it takes to get a signed contract should bring them to the table much quicker,” he said.

The UAW’s ratcheted up pressure on the companies by striking at each company’s most profitable plant – GM’s Arlington, Texas assembly plant, Ford’s Kentucky heavy-duty pickup factory and Stellantis’ Ram pickup plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Total economic losses from the auto workers’ strike have reached US$9.3 billon, the Anderson Economic Group said earlier this week.