UAW says strike ‘won things no one thought possible’ from automakers. Here’s what it’s getting.

  • Comments
  • Print

The United Auto Workers won at least partial victories on many of the key demands that led to the six-week strike against Ford, General Motors and Jeep maker Stellantis.

The union has provided some information on the deals, including a detailed explanation of the agreement it reached with Ford. The agreement is expected to become the model for later settlements with GM and Stellantis. Rank-and-file UAW members must ratify each contract before it takes effect.

“We won things no one thought possible,” UAW President Shawn Fain said when he announced the tentative agreement last week.

The union represents 57,000 workers at the company, and about 16,600 of them were on strike. Here are the key terms of the agreements, as detailed by the union:


The tentative agreements call for 25% increases in pay by April 2028, raising top pay to about $42 an hour, according to the union. That starts with an 11% boost upon ratification, three annual raises of 3% each, and a final increase of 5%. The UAW said restoration of cost-of-living increases, which were suspended in 2009, could boost the total increases to more than 30%.

The union initially asked for 40% increases, but scaled that back to 36% before the strike started Sept. 15. Ford’s last offer before the strike was 9% more pay over four years. More recently, Ford, GM and Stellantis were all offering 23% total pay increases.

For historical comparison, the union said its workers saw pay increases of 23% for all the years from 2001 through 2022.


The deals include $5,000 ratification bonuses.


The union said Ford’s temporary workers will get pay raises totaling 150% over the life of the deal, and workers at certain facilities will also get outsized raises. The temporary workers will also get the ratification bonuses and will get profit-sharing starting next year, officials said.


The companies did not agree to bring back traditional defined-benefit pension plans or retiree health care for workers hired since 2007. But they agreed to increase 401(k) contributions to about 9.5%.


The UAW asked for a shorter work week—40 hours of pay for 32 hours of work. It did not get that concession.


The union said Ford and GM agreed to end most divisive wage tiers, a system under which new hires were put on a less attractive pay scale. Fain and union members had highlighted the issue, saying it was unfair for people doing the same work to be paid less than co-workers.


The agreement shortens the time it will take workers to reach top scale, to three years. It took eight years under the contract that expired in September.


The union said it won the right to strike against any of the three companies over plant closures. The automakers had rejected the proposal at the start of talks.


The agreements with Ford, GM and Stellantis could give the UAW a boost as it seeks to represent workers at nonunion plants in the United States that are operated by foreign carmakers and Tesla, as well as future plants that will make batteries for electric vehicles.

The union said Ford agreed to put workers at a future battery plant in Michigan under the UAW’s master contract, and GM agreed to do so with work at Ultium Cells, a joint venture between the company and LG Energy Solution of South Korea.

Fain vowed Sunday that the union will “organize like we’ve never organized before” at nonunion plants.

“When we return to the bargaining table in 2028, it won’t just be with the Big Three but with the Big Five or the Big Six,” he said in an online message to union members.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

15 thoughts on “UAW says strike ‘won things no one thought possible’ from automakers. Here’s what it’s getting.

    1. Probably figuring out how these companies will claw back this money over the next couple years.

    2. The naysayers? They’re all in the Honda, Toyota and Subaru dealerships purchasing higher quality at a lower price.

    3. You asked, and ya got three silly answers. Pretty This contract will go down in history as epic.

    4. Rick S:

      “Silly” = “Perfectly Reasonable”

      As much as I prefer manufacturing unions over teachers and other public-sector unions, these companies seem to be committing long-term suicide. At this rate, in a few years, GM will be as relevant as Sears.

    5. It’s a $1 billion increase in labor costs for a company that brings in $14 billion in annual profit. They will be fine.

    1. The UAW has lost far more jobs than they have created.

      Ford’s Labor cost will now jump up to about $ 90 dollars per
      hour ( wages & benefits) on average. The non union wage & benefits
      per hour are around $ 55 dollars per hour.

      The additional labor costs will be passed on to the consumer in higher
      vehicle costs.

      The Big Three have around 50% of the domestic car market and virtually very
      little if any outside the United States.

      Prepare for more jobs to be lost here in the U.S.

    2. Keith: This is a bunch of bunk. Unions have protected laborers from automation and profit-seeking labor cuts. The average increase in costs of a vehicle for this deal is about 2%. GM is a company that rakes in $14 billion in profits annually, they can absolutely absorb a $1 billion increase in their labor costs. The notion that the “Big Three have very little if any outside the US” is incredibly false. Opal is a GM company and they make up 37% of car sales in Germany! Overall, your statement is laughably untrue and goes against the long-standing history of unions.

  1. Well now the automakers will have to decide whether to raise prices and risk losing business to better run competition or find other ways to reduce costs to remain competitive (May have to cut their executive bonuses by a couple hundred million – but probably won’t). Sounds like what drives innovation and a free-market system to me. The auto CEO’s, corporate institutions, and high wealth individuals can not perpetually rake in tens of millions of dollars because of soaring stock prices earned on the stagnant wages of the middle class workforce. The automakers survived the oil embargo in the 70’s, the Japanese onslaught in the 80’s & 90’s, and the great recession in the 2000’s (with the help of large concessions from the unions btw) and seem to be profiting as well as ever, but somehow many doomsayers on here think it will be this union contract that will be their death knell.

    1. Greg S.

      The profits are distributed to the shareholders which number in the
      tens of millions to hundreds of millions of people. These investors
      are the ones taking the risk, not the union members.

      The additional costs will be added to the cost of the vehicle resulting in higher
      Higher prices will effect market share.