CLAYCOMO, Mo. — Ford automakers who’ve been on strike for over a month are now being told to head back to work.
The United Auto Workers union said it tentatively struck a deal with Ford.
The focus of this four-year deal is on pay and health care.
The UAW union said it reached a tentative contract agreement with Ford. The union president calls it historic. But not all union members are ready to sign on.
“We told Ford to pony up and they did,” UAW President Shawn Fain said. “We won things nobody thought was possibly.”
Fain sent out a video message to members on Facebook. He said workers will get a 25% general wage hike, plus cost of living raises that will put the pay increase even higher, over 30% to about $40 per hour.
“Upon ratification, there will be an immediate 11% pay increase” Claycomo Ford Plant Union Chairman Local 249 Jim Fisher said, “and then the rest of it will take place over the next 3-4 years.”
The UAW also said Ford put 50% more money on the table than it did before the strike started on September 15.
Fisher said Local 249 represents 9,000 people who work at the Claycomo assembly plant.
He’ll be heading to Detroit where union leaders will vote whether or not to send the tentative contract to members.
“This is not only an improvement for our members this will be an improvement for the economy,” Fisher said.
The UAW also said temporary workers will get raises over 150% and retirees will get annual bonuses.
We talked with two union members. One said she’s excited for the contract because she’ll see the immediate pay increase. She’s been working at the Ford plant for nearly two years.
Another union member said she plans to vote no, if the contract makes it to the members. She said it’s good for newer employees, but after working nearly nine years at Ford, hitting the hourly wage cap, she believes she could go somewhere else and make more money.
“As inflation continued to go up and there wasn’t a COLA, like there was in 08 and 09, we kept seeing our members, eve though some of them, they were getting3%-4% pay raises, they were falling behind because inflation was going faster. So, to be able to activate the COLA back in there,” Fisher said, “it should get members back to a 30-33% pay raise.”
Fisher said his negotiating team is also discussing a separate, local contract about day-to-day operations. So far, the metro ford plant has not gone on strike.
The UAW National Ford Council will vote on sending the tentative agreement to membership Sunday.
If it’s passed, all 57,000 members get a vote and majority rules.