UAW president takes victory lap on new deals, seeks to jumpstart new labor movement

The UAW president took a victory lap Wednesday when he summarized both the small details of the autoworkers' latest contract with the Detroit three, as well as bigger plans for the labor organization's future.

At one point during Wednesday's afternoon press conference, he stamped the agreement as a victory for bargaining when he said Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis would pay each worker that went on strike for each day they picketed.

"For first time in UAW history, the big three had to pay us back for striking them," Fain said. "That's when you know you've won."

In exchange for the extra pay, which adds up to more than $100, union leadership agreed to send workers back to the assembly line as local groups voted on ratifying the proposed agreements. Before the negotiated contracts can go into effect, UAW members must approve the agreements within their respective organizations. 

In total, they were offered 30 contract proposals as the UAW sought to keep the three automakers off balance. They even switched up their strategy by surprise striking each of the three companies, starting with Kentucky Truck Plant. 

The strike lasted more than six weeks and cost the industry more than $10 billion in wage and production losses. But in return, Fain argued the contracts added up to the biggest gains the UAW had seen in years. It also provided a new strategy for how strikes my happen in the future.


UAW workers to get more than $100 from Detroit 3 automakers for each day they were on strike

The unusual provision was agreed on by Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis during collective bargaining. The strike lasted about six weeks and included tens of thousands of workers.

He also alluded to a larger plan to jumpstart a labor revolution, saying the latest stand-off wasn't just about a new contract, cost-of-living adjustments, tiers, or battery jobs. "It's about a big-picture vision."

"We didn't just win back wages and benefits, we won back our power," he said.