The United Auto Workers and General Motors have agreed on terms for a new contract, six weeks after the union began striking the Big Three automakers, the union confirmed Monday afternoon.
The accord with GM, the lone holdout after a deal last week with Ford and a weekend agreement with Stellantis, could bring the weekslong strike against the Detroit automakers to an end and notch another win for organized labor in recent months.
The deal comes days after the UAW reached a tentative agreement with Ford Motor Company that included a 25% wage increase over the course of the contract, cost-of-living pay increases and profit-sharing checks, and after reaching a similar accord with Stellantis, which makes Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Chrysler vehicles. The tentative accord with GM mirrors those agreements.
The deals with Ford and Stellantis await ratification by union members but were expected to set the pattern for deals with GM, the lone holdout.
In a video announcement released late Monday afternoon, UAW president Shawn Fain called the result of their negotiating efforts "one of the most stunning victories since the sit-down strikes of the 1930s" that resulted in the recognition of the union.
"With this tentative agreement, we've not only won at GM, but over the last six days, working around the clock, we have reached tentative agreements across all of the Big Three," Fain said. "When I think about where this fight began, one thing is abundantly clear: They underestimated us. They underestimated you. These corporations had no idea what was coming for them, and they have no idea what's next."
"The stand-up strike is the first page in a new chapter of our story," he added. "We have won record agreements at Ford, Stellantis and now GM. We have united our membership like never before. We have shown the companies, the American public and the whole world that the working class is not done fighting. In fact, we're just getting started."
"These record agreements reward all the workers who gave up much to keep the industry working and going during the financial crisis more than a decade ago," President Joe Biden said at an event on Monday devoted to artificial intelligence.
Biden said the collective bargaining UAW had engaged in to improve pay and benefits was playing out similarly in a variety of industries, from rail and port workers to writers and health care providers.
"We have more to do, but we are finally beginning to build an economy that works for working people and the middle class, for the entire country, including the companies, because when we do that, the poor have a leg up, the middle class does well and the wealthy still do very well. We all do well."
In a separate statement, the president called it a "landmark agreement" which serves as "a testament to the power of unions and collective bargaining to build strong middle-class jobs while helping our most iconic American companies thrive."
"Congratulations @UAW on securing record contracts for hardworking employees of the Big Three automobile companies!" said House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., in a social media post. "Everybody wins when organized labor and industry come together to lift up the great American middle class dream."
The GM news comes after the UAW expanded its strike Monday at a Stellantis factory that makes its bestselling Ram pickup trucks and again Tuesday at a General Motors factory that makes popular SUVs including the GMC Yukon. Earlier this month, the UAW added 8,700 workers to the picket lines at a Ford factory in Kentucky that makes some of the company’s most popular trucks and SUVs, ncluding its Super Duty pickups, Expedition SUV and Lincoln Navigator.
About 45,000 of the UAW’s 150,000 members have been striking Ford, General Motors and Stellantis since September 15, one day after their four-year contract expired.
In July, Fain began meeting with the automakers separately, presenting each of them with a list of 10 demands, including a 40% wage increase, cost-of-living adjustments, defined pension benefits for all workers, the right to strike over plant closures and more paid time off to be with families. While the UAW has made progress with all three companies, Fain said earlier this month he was tired of automakers gaming the union’s system of announcing strike expansions on Friday and engaging in 11th hour negotiations and would strike plants without notice.
As of one week ago, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis had all offered the UAW a 23% wage increase. Ford was the first to up the increase to 25% over four years. Under the terms of the new contract, the company will also include cost-of-living pay increases that can lift total pay rises to more than 33%, as well as annual profit-sharing checks.
Ford also granted union members the right to strike over plant closures and additional job security in the event of layoffs, with both full-time and temporary workers receiving income security for up to two years including healthcare.
The UAW’s strike against Ford cost the company $1.3 billion in earnings, Chief Financial Officer John Lawler said after the deal was reached. General Motors has said the strike cost it $200 million weekly.