By Olivia Rosane / Common Dreams
The United Auto Workers has reached a tentative deal with Stellantis, the union announced on Saturday.
The news comes three days after the UAW announced a tentative agreement with Ford. The union has been on strike against the Big Three U.S. automakers since September 15 in its first ever work stoppage targeting all three companies at once. General Motors is now the only one of the three that has not agreed to a tentative deal.
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“We’ve achieved what just weeks ago we were told was impossible,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a video posted on social media. “The power of the Stand-Up Strike cannot be understated.”
Over the course of the strike, Stellantis raised the value of its proposals by 103%, Fain said.
“At Stellantis, we not only secured a record contract, we have begun to turn the tide on the war on the American working class,” he continued. “And we truly are saving the American Dream.”
In one of the most notable aspects of the deal, Stellantis promised to add new products to the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois, which it had idled eight months ago, putting 1,200 UAW members out of work.
“UAW members across the country just showed the entire world the power that workers have when they go on strike.”
“UAW family, it is my great honor to announce that we saved Belvidere,” UAW Vice President Rich Boyer said in the video.
Stellantis agreed both to add a new vehicle to the existing plant and to add more than 1,000 jobs to a new battery plant in the community.
“They told us for years that the electric vehicle transition was a death sentence for good auto jobs in this country,” Fain said. “We stood up and said, ‘No.’ With this agreement, we’re proving them all wrong.”
Other highlights of the deal include
- 5,000 jobs saved and 5,000 added;
- A 25% raise over the life of the contract and an 11% raise over its first year, as with the Ford deal;
- A 168% raise for temporary workers;
- A 67% increaase in starting wages;
- An end to wage tiers; and
- The right to strike over plant closures, product, and investment.
“UAW members across the country just showed the entire world the power that workers have when they go on strike, and we have our most powerful tool at the ready to protect our jobs, protect our communities, and save the American Dream,” Fain said.
Next, the UAW Stellantis Council will vote Thursday, November 2 on whether or not to send the agreement to members. If they vote yes, the membership will then vote on whether or not to ratify it. In the meantime, the approximately 14,000 Stellantis workers on strike will return to work, according to The Associated Press.
Bruce Baumhower, who is the president of a local union at a Toledo, Ohio, Stellantis Jeep factory, told APhe thought it would pass.
“Eleven percent is right on the hood,” Baumhower said. “It’s a historic agreement as far as I’m concerned.”
The UAW has so far seen success with its strategy of calling walkouts at targeted plants controlled by the Big Three, instead of calling all of its members off the job at once.
“Congratulations to the UAW for standing up to corporate greed,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted in response to the news. “The strong pro-worker contracts negotiated with Ford and Stellantis are helping to rebuild the American middle class. GM. You’re next.”
GM will now feel greater pressure to reach an deal as well, Rebecca Givan, associate professor at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, told the Detroit Free Press.
“They’re in a race to the finish line now,” Givan said. “GM does not want to be more than a few hours behind Stellantis. They know what they have to do and any waiting is dragging it out for no reason. GM loses money by waiting to get to what’s likely a clear contract at this point.”
Olivia Rosane is a staff writer for Common Dreams.